A businessman, Abiodun Richards, has asked the Lagos State Government to produce his Honda Accord which was towed from his residence on Imaria Close, in the Anthony area of the state. Richards said the vehicle was first moved by an official of the Kosofe Local Government Area, identified only as Ijiade. Ijiade reportedly claimed that he moved the vehicle, together with an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority to the agency’s headquarters at Oshodi. When the owner of the car got to the Oshodi office and checked the records, he was said to have confirmed that the vehicle was moved in on October 14, 2014.
However, the vehicle could not be found on the premises of LASTMA. Richards, who is based in Rivers State, said there was no record that the car had been moved out or sold. He told Punch Metro that he had been diagnosed with stroke at the time his car was towed and he had travelled to Port Harcourt for treatment.
He said, “I started living in Anthony Village in May 2013; I was staying with a friend on Imaria Close. I went there with my green Honda Accord, with number plate, BT 398 KSF. Imaria Close is a gated community and it does not have more than 14 houses. Most residents park by the roadside. “In November 2013, I travelled to Port Harcourt after I fell ill. I was bedridden. I was called by my friend that the state government had ordered that vehicles parked by the roadside be removed by their owners or they would be towed by the government.
“In August 2014, I sent my cousin, who was in Lagos to go and remove the car, but he said he could not make it. I later sent another person in October, and he said he could not find the car. I was surprised and I decided to come myself to know what happened.”
He said he travelled back to Rivers State when he could not find the car and efforts to locate it proved abortive. Richards said while making enquiries, he got information that a council officer, Ijiade, moved the car from the street. He said he returned to Lagos and started searching for his car in all council parks.
“I checked all Kosofe parks where they keep towed vehicles; I checked Ogudu and Oworonshoki, but I didn’t find it. After searching for more than two weeks, I was told to check LASTMA offices. I checked all their offices and yards at Oshodi and Anthony, without any result. “During the search, somebody connected me with Ijiade, whom I had been looking for. He told me that he called someone from LASTMA and the car was taken to Oshodi,” he added.
He said he returned to LASTMA office at Oshodi and checked its three yards without any success. “On Friday, February 29, 2016, Ijiade said he was going to LASTMA’s office to confirm what happened to my car. He gave me the date the car was taken there as October 14, 2014. “The next day, March 1, I went to check the records with the help of a senior officer. We discovered in their records that the car was brought in on that date, and was never taken out. When we checked the LASTMA yards again, it was not there. The senior officer asked the security officers to check, but they did and did not find it.
“I want the government to produce my car. I have some personal documents in the boot and I just bought three brand new tyres in the car. The car was in perfect condition and I want to know what happened to it,” he said.
Ijiade could not be reached on his mobile phone. The General Manager of LASTMA, Chris Olakpe, urged the complainant to write to the management of the agency, saying there was no way anybody would take the car out.
He said, “Tell him to write to the LASTMA CEO; I can assure you that the vehicle cannot be moved out of the yard without authorisation. We will investigate it.”