LASTMA official hangs self on Lagos billboard

Emotion ran high on Saturday when the remains of an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, Tope Akinde, were seen dangling on the pole of a billboard around the Salvation bus stop, Opebi, in the Ikeja Local Government Area of the state.

At the scene of the incident around 9am, some residents, traders and passersby were seen condemning the circumstances that led to the Akinde’s death.

Some other persons while staring at the man’s corpse dangling on the pole around a mango tree were seen mourning over the tragic incident.

The crowd reportedly prevented vehicular movements, creating gridlock in the process.

Officials of the Neighbourhood Safety Corps were said to have visited the scene of the incident to restore normalcy.

An eyewitness, Abiodun Fakemi, said he saw people staring at a tree and thought there was a snake on it, adding when he moved closer to the tree, he saw the man’s remains dangling.

He said, “I was going to Salvation bus stop, and was on a bus when I saw a crowd looking at a mango tree. I thought there was a giant snake on the tree. I went closer and saw people taking pictures with their phones. Surprisingly, I saw the man dangling on the pole of a billboard with his tongue out.

“I saw a spec used by motorcyclists in his pocket. I heard a highway sweeper say that the man was a LASTMA official.”

Another eyewitness, Abraham Osime, said, “I usually saw him at the back of the Sheraton Hotel. I still saw him when he was coming back from church last Sunday.”

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said a female LASTMA official informed the command about the incident, adding that Akinde’s elder brother claimed that he had been suffering from mental issues for a while.

He stated that the corpse had been evacuated and deposited in a mortuary.

Elkana said, “On Saturday, February 1, 2020, around 10.57am, a female LASTMA official, Yetunde Olajabu, came to the police station and reported that she received a phone call from an unknown person that one man hanged himself on a mango tree at Opebi and was later identified to be Tope Akinde, An official of LASTMA.

“Information at our disposal from the deceased elder brother reveals that the late Tope Akinde had mental problems which the family had been managing for a while now before his death.”

The General Manager of LASTMA, Olajide Oduyoye, said he did not have details of the incident.

While expressing shock at the suicide, he said the agency would investigate what could have led to it.

He said, “I don’t really know what to say and I don’t have details of what would make a grown up man wants to do that. It really needs to be investigated. We need to find out if he had any problem before, psychologically or otherwise.”

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