The Lagos State Ministry of Transportation has set up a panel to probe the alleged burning of a motorist car by the Vehicle Inspection Service in the Lagos Island area of the state.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the panel was also directed to investigate the Director of the VIS, Mr. Gbolahan Toriola, for the alleged assault and malreatment of the motorist.
Our correspondent had reported on Thursday and Friday that a 42-year-old painter, Oluwadamilare Afolarin, had been flagged down by the VIS officials in the Ilaje, Ajah area.
His Honda Accord was said to have been impounded over allegation that the windscreen was cracked. He was fined N80,000.
While the victim was about paying the bill after two weeks, he was called by one Akeem, who asked him to proceed to the Ojodu Berger office of the agency.
He was said to have been informed that the vehicle was burnt on the VIS premises and offered a compensation of N200,000.
Akeem was reported to have taken Afolarin to Toriola?s office at Alausa, where the director allegedly slapped the victim and ordered that his shoes and phone be seized.
The director allegedly accused the motorist of sneaking into the VIS premises and setting fire to the vehicle, adding that the VIS men saw footprints of his shoes at the scene.
Afolarin was said to have been locked up at the Ogombo Police Division for three days after which he was coerced to sign an undertaking not to report the incident on the social media or inform the press.
PUNCH Metro reported that he was asked to give up the invoice for the N80,000 fine given by the VIS men; and was given N2,000 as transport fare back home.
After the report, Nigerians condemned the action of the VIS which they described as ?cruel?.
Some others called on the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, to investigate the incident and bring the officials to book for acting without the ?fear of God?.
A source in the ministry of transportation said the agency was being probed.
He said, ?The ministry has set up a panel to investigate the case. Governor Ambode is furious over the matter. How can a man be assaulted, fined and detained at a police station after his vehicle got burnt on your premises? It is indeed an abuse of power.?
The state Acting Commissioner for Transportation, Anofi Elegushi, confirmed the development, adding that the panel was set up sequel to PUNCH Metro?s reports.
He said, ?Yes, we are looking into the case. Whenever we get reports like that, we have to look into them before we send our findings to the governor. We will do due diligence in the matter. You can call me tomorrow (Monday) for an update. I will ensure they carry you along.?