A man who was allegedly fined the sum of N215,000 for violating the COVID – 19 regulations in Ogun State has committed suicide in protest against the penalty.
Fatai Salami drank an insecticide known as Sniper and died at the premises of Ogun Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps (TRACE) due to the fine imposed n him.
The incident took place on Monday.
Salami’s truck was said to have been seized by officials of TRACE, who kept the vehicle in their cusody in Abeokuta for five days over his inability to pay the N215,000 fine.
It was gathered that TRACE officials seized the truck from the driver of the vehicle in Abeokuta on Thursday for flouting the social distancing order and failure to use face masks.
Salami was said to have followed his driver to the premises of TRACE to plead for the release of the truck.
However, after his plea fell on deaf ears, Salami decided to commit suicide.
The spokesman of TRACE, Mr Babatunde Akinbiyi, confirmed the development.
But Akinbiyi claimed that Salami 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 and 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.
He also denied reports that TRACE fined the deceased N215,000 for flouting the COVID-19 law.
Akinbiyi added, “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 and 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.”
Although the TRACE spokesman denied the N215,000 fine, he noted that Salami should have appealed if he felt the fine was too much.
“If you commit a traffic infraction, you have to be fined and 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.