A civil society group, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, has berated officials of Kick Against Indiscipline, an enforcement arm of Lagos State Ministry of Environment, over their arrest of 150 rams at the Ijora Olopa area of the state.
The leader of the ram merchants in the area, Mr. Musa Sokoto, had accused the KAI officials of seizing the rams on Sunday morning “without giving any reason for the action.”
Sokoto had further accused the KAI of withholding 15 of the 150 rams seized, after securing their release at the organisation’s office.
In a statement by the group, the Executive Chairman, Debo Adeniran said the excesses of KAI officials were becoming unbearable, alleging that the brute force they employed to suppress and molest traders was uncalled for.
He said, “Withholding people’s goods and demanding fine, when the offence has not been spelt out, is extortion of the highest order. They capitalise on the vulnerability of the petty traders, shoe makers, food sellers and other artisans eking out a living and have their stalls close to the roads to extort money.
“Just some few weeks back, two KAI officials were arrested for allegedly demanding N800, 000 bribe from a trader at Iddo Market. This trend is disturbing, considering the status of Lagos State.”
Adeniran said the 15 rams allegedly withheld by the officials made a mockery of the state government. He urged the government to look into the matter.
The CACOL boss called on the state government to concentrate on delivering on its manifestos, “instead of victimising and hounding hapless Lagosians.”
He said, “It is very disheartening that goods seized could not be accounted for accurately. Does it mean the inventory was not done when the rams were brought or is KAI saying that the remaining 15 rams got lost in transit?
“It behoves Lagos government to, as a matter of urgency, look into this allegation by the ram dealers and bring anyone found to have abused his office to book to serve as a deterrent to other erring officers.”
When contacted for reactions, Chairman, Lagos State Taskforce on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, CSP Bayo Sulaimon, referred our correspondent to the ministry.
“Please get Ministry of Environment in charge of KAI, as this has nothing to do with the taskforce,” a text message from him read.
The Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Tunji Bello, could not be reached for comments, as his line indicated that it was switched off.