Confusion reigned on Monday when a man identified as Fatai Salami allegedly committed suicide at the premises of Ogun Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE).
The deceased allegedly drank an insecticide known as Sniper and died.
1st News learnt that Salami was allegedly asked to pay a fine of N215, 000 for violating the COVID-19 law in the state. Salami’s truck was said to have been seized by officials of TRACE. Also, the vehicle was reportedly in the custody of the traffic management agency in Abeokuta for five days.
TRACE officials had allegedly seized the deceased’s truck from his driver in Abeokuta on Thursday; for flouting the social distancing order and failure to use face masks. Thereafter, Salami was said to have followed his driver to the premises of TRACE to plead for it release.
Allegedly frustrated by the non-release of the vehicle, Salami was said to have opted to drink the poisonous substance.
Babatunde Akinbiyi, the Public Relations Officer of TRACE; confirmed the death of the deceased in the premises of TRACE in Abeokuta. However, he insisted that the deceased was neither a truck owner nor a driver.
“The man was neither a truck driver nor a truck owner. One of our commanders and people around saw him sitting on the floor. They asked him to stand up. As he stood up, he brought out something from his pocket and drank it.
“We later discovered that it was Sniper he drank. One of his bosses saw him attempting to drink it and screamed. But before help could come, he had drunk it.
“He was rushed to the General Hospital Ijaiye and at the hospital he gave up. So the case had been reported at Ibara police station here in Abeokuta,” he said.
Further, he denied the allegation that TRACE fined the deceased N215,000 for flouting the COVID-19 law.
“That is a lie. It is not true. It was later we found out that he was a manager of a fleet of trucks owned by somebody else…One of the trucks was penalised for violating traffic rules.
‘‘We also gathered that the owner of the truck had warned him to ensure he returns with the truck or risk sack. Who knows, maybe that’s why he killed himself. It is so sad and unfortunate.
“He was neither a driver nor a truck owner. What he came here to do we don’t know. A whole lot of them usually come into the premises.
“If you commit a traffic infraction, you have to be fined…If you think that what you are being charged is on the high side; or you are being charged wrongly, you have the right to seek redress which we also entertain and encourage, ” he said.