LASTMA’s extortion responsible for my fiance’s death, says Uber driver

A Uber driver in Lagos State, Matthew Ozomarisi, has claimed that the extortion he experienced in the hands of the officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) on Monday led to the death of his fiance, Sumbo Kehinde, a petty trader.

Ozomarisi, told The Nation that Kehinde was down with appendix and on the hospital bed at Epe general hospital but died on Monday afternoon while he was in the office of the LASTMA officials in Iporin negotiating payment for the offence he did not commit.

He claimed that he was meant to use the car he was driving to get passengers and make money to foot the medical bill for Kehinde’s operation on Monday but his plans of geeting the money raised was truncated by LASTMA officials.

He said; “I am an Uber driver and I have been doing the business for over a year but could not further for about seven months because I was robbed somewhere in Oshodi about seven months ago when a rider who ordered  the vehicle I was using for the business robbed me in Oshodi along five other guys and took the vehicle away.

Due to this, the owner of the vehicle got me arrested and I was in Ikoti prison for seven months.

“I was released about two weeks ago and I discovered my fiance was sick. I took her to the general hospital in Epe, but I was told on Saturday that she had appendix, it was drued and about to burst. I had no money or source of income to foot the Bills. It was on Monday that I told a friend working with Taxify to let me use his car for business with the hope I’ll be able to raise the medical bill.

But while I was on my way to the Taxify office in Surulere to do the necessary things to enable me use the vehicle for business a whole lot happened

“While I was on Ijora bridge, I heard two loud sound and noticed my two tyres had busted. I managed to drive further a bit, parked the car and went back to where I heard the sounds, I saw wood with nails indicating that the hoodlums in the area threw the wood to set a trap for their victim.

Then I saw two of the hoodlums coming and told them if they were coming to rob me, we will both kill ourselves else they were coming to help me. They went back and shortly after LASTMA officials came in their vehicle to me and one of the hoodlums was in the opposite direction coming too.

Seeing the LASTMA official, I was happy, they offered to tow the car for me to Custain and I thanked them but on driving on, they towed the car to their office in Iporin and said I should bring N20,000. I said I did nothing and why the fine. I begged them that I have no money and my fiance was on the sick bed that I was out to work to gather money to foot her medical bill.

They kept moving me from one office to another, I begged and was shedding tears. At last, they said I should bring N10,000. After spending about Seven hours, begging all my colleagues on the Uber platform, I raised N7000 and gave them, after giving them, one of the LASTMA officials said I have money and ordered my car should be towed in.
Shortly after this, I received a call that my wife had died.

“Assuming my car was not taken to their office, I would make about 10 or 15,000 within those hours and I would have been able to pay the medical Bill’s to save Sumbo’s life.

Ozomarisi asked if it was the work LASTMA was assigned they were doing on the road by towing his car for having flat tyres and he being asked to pay the N20,000. He also demanded an explanation why hoodlum and LASTMA officials came to him at almost the same time on Ijora bridge.

“I want the whole world to know what is happening here, because as far as I am concerned, they killed her by delaying me unnecessarily in their office for no offence.

Despite that those officials heard that my fiance was in the hospital they still insisted that I pay for the offence i did not commit.”

He said the car is still in their custody, adding that among the officials on his case is named Alhaji and Orobo.
Call to LASTMA Public Relations Officer, Olumide Filade was picked.

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