It was a pathetic scene on Saturday morning, as the remains of an official of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA, Tope Akinde, were seen dangling on the pole of a billboard around Salvation bus stop, in the Opebi area of Ikeja Local Government, Lagos State.
At the scene of the incident around 9 a.m., some residents, traders and passersby were seen condemning the circumstances that led to Akinde’s death.
Some other persons while staring at Akinde’s corpse that was dangling on the pole around a mango tree, were also seen mourning over the tragic incident.
The crowd, who were shocked by the bizarre occurrence, were said to have prevented vehicular movements, creating gridlock in the process.
Officials of the Lagos State Neighbourhood Safety Corps were said to have visited the scene of the incident to restore normalcy by controlling the crowd to enable vehicles to access the road to their various destinations.
An eyewitness, Abiodun Fakemi, said he saw people staring at a tree and thought there was a snake on it, adding that when he moved closer to the tree, he saw the man’s remains hanging on it.
He said, “I was going to Salvation bus stop and was on a bus when I saw a crowd of people looking at a mango tree before the bus stop. I thought there was a giant snake on the tree, so, when I alighted, I went to the scene and saw people taking pictures with their phone. At the scene, I saw the man dangling on the pole of a billboard with his tongue out. The pole was around the mango tree and it was around that part that the man used to hang himself.
“I saw a spec used by motorcyclists in his pocket, he wore a canvass, a jean and a black shirt. I heard one of the women that usually sweeps the road saying that the man was a LASTMA official and I also heard some other persons saying he was a commercial motorcyclist.”
Another eyewitness, Abraham Osime, said “the corpse had been retrieved from where it was hanged and placed in dry drainage. A cowboy cap and a blue rope were placed on the corpse. I suspect that the rope was what he used to hang himself. But when I saw the corpse, I knew I know that guy because every time I come to school, I do see him around 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 of the incident, adding that Akinde’s elder brother claimed that he had been suffering from mental instability for a while.
He stated that the corpse had been evacuated and deposited in a mortuary.
Elkana said, “On Saturday, February 1, 2020, around 10.57 a.m., 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, a staff of LASTMA.
“His corpse has been deposited at IDH Hospital, Yaba mortuary by the Lagos State Ambulance Service. Information at our disposal from the deceased’s elder brother reveals that the late Tope Akinde had a mental problem which the family had been managing before his death.”
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