26 July 2016
Some residents of Lagos have condemned the abandoning of vehicles around police stations, saying the stations should not be turned into dumping grounds for seized and accident vehicles.
They said on Tuesday that such vehicles usually caused traffic obstructions and posed the danger of being used by terrorists to plant explosives.
They added that abandoned vehicles around the police stations were often turned into refuse dumpw by passers-by.
The residents said there were about 25 vehicles, including trucks that had occupied half of the three-lane road at Oke-Odo Police Station, close to Ile-Epo Market, on the Lagos/Abeokuta Expressway.
According to them, traders have started using the vehicles as warehouses where they kept their wares at night and remove them for sale in the morning.
The residents urged the police authorities to remove such unclaimed vehicles from the roads and expressed sadness over traffic bottlenecks they caused and their use as home by hoodlums.
Mr Taiwo Alabi, a commercial bus operator, plying the Mushin axis, said that abandoned vehicles on the roads obstructed traffic and hindered free-flow of vehicles.
“When you drive by the Olosan Police Station at Mushin, there is either a car or truck abandoned on the road and this is dangerous at night,’’ he said.
Mr Femi Bankole, a banker, said that he was not surprised that some vehicles had been abandoned around police stations for long.
“I am not surprised because some policemen often take advantage of the traffic snarl caused by abandoned vehicles to set up check points.
“But for the hoisting of the Nigerian Flag at some police stations, it would have been difficult to identify some stations with the numerous abandoned vehicles parked,’’ he said.
The police spokesperson in Lagos, SP Dolapo Badmus, said, however, that complainants in accident cases sometimes refused to go home with their vehicles until they were repaired by the other party.
“Complainants sometimes refuse to go home with their vehicles, they insist that the other motorist repairs it or pays them for the repair.
“You know we can’t throw them away, but most times when the parties are willing to settle amicably, we release the vehicles to them.
“I am aware the Commissioner of Police has sent directives to all DPOs that they should do away with abandoned vehicles in and around the police stations.
“So, if they can’t get the owners after six months, the vehicles will be auctioned.
“We will continue to partner with the public and enlighten them on the need to settle their rifts amicably.
“Assuming the police stations have a big compound like that of LASTMA, there will be no issues of abandoned vehicles at police stations,’’ she said.
The former Lagos State Governor, Mr Babatunde Fashola, had handed over ICT centres to police stations to help them to decongest the stations of exhibits, especially abandoned vehicles.
Fashola said all exhibits in the police stations should be captured and stored in their computers’ database for easy access and retrieval of relevant exhibits for prosecution.
He equally noted that the initiative would discourage the need to keep vehicles involved in accidents in the police offices, stressing that such vehicles should be released to their owners on bond.