Errant driver trying to evade arrest, nobody died, police say
For more than two hours, it was a reign of violence in Abule Egba area of Lagos when members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) clashed with officials of Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation.
The incident followed the reported killings of a commercial bus driver and conductor by task force officials following a disagreement around Emmanuel Bus Stop, Abule-Egba. Vehicles, including police vans, were destroyed just as many people sustained severe wounds during the fracas, which escalated to Alakuko.
The victims were allegedly shot by the task force. Another account indicated that the officials crushed the driver with their patrol vehicle, a development that provoked the NURTW members in the axis.
While the crisis lasted, sporadic gunshots rend the air as bottles were flung across the road as it grounded commercial activities while people scampered to safety. It was gathered that the hoodlums injured about five policemen attached to the team while demanding to see their members dead or alive.
Motorists caught up in the chaos alleged that some road users were hit by stray bullets while multiple accidents were recorded as people struggled to leave the scene of violence.
Commuters also lamented the absence of commercial vehicles, which forced many stranded at bus stops and others resorting to trekking long distances .
“All the commercial buses refused to operate. They parked their vehicles and were drumming for war. We trekked long distances with many people running to avoid stray bullets or any object touching them,” said Ifeyinwa Madu, a commuter who was caught up in the incident.
According to her, the thugs vandalised people’s vehicles with cutlasses they freely displayed, adding that she heard several gunshots as well.
Narrating his experience, a Twitter user said he saw how vehicles were reversing and making U-turn on the road. “I was just hearing crashes. Cars were just running into each other. Some urchins were smashing windscreens and displaying madness.”
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But the Lagos State police command denied that its men killed anyone, insisting that the violence was as a result of false alarm raised by an errant driver who fled after he was caught driving against traffic.
Police spokesman, Bala Elkana, said five suspects have been arrested and calm restored. He insisted that no one was killed, explaining that it was the driver’s recklessness that pushed his conductor off their vehicle because their door was bad.
“Nobody died. Not even the conductor who fell off the vehicle as a result of the way his driver drove to evade arrest. He is admitted in the hospital. What happened was that the task force team was going for enforcement when they saw the bus driving against traffic. The driver also saw them and to evade arrest, he made a quick turn. Because of the speed, the door to their bus, which had already pulled out, fell off and the conductor fell with it.
“The driver fled the scene and he was the same person who went to tell his other colleagues that task force killed his conductor. Those ones then grouped themselves and came in four or five buses to attack the policemen.
“They injured the task force officials. One had serious injuries but four others had minor injuries. Reinforcement was sent in from neighbouring divisions and the situation was brought under control.
“Five of the suspects were arrested and that vehicle has been impounded. The conductor is on admission in a hospital where the task force team rushed him to after he fell from his bus. That is what I was told happened,” Elkana said.