11th February, 2011
The pervading peace in Mile 12 area of Lagos State, southwest Nigeria was disrupted yesterday when aÂ commercial motorcyclist (okada rider) was killed, leading to the burning of two BRT buses.
A wild protest ensued in the area as irate okada riders took laws into their hands and attacked twoÂ BRT buses and barricaded the expressway.
Trouble started when officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, LASTMA chased theÂ commercial motorcyclist carrying two passengers on the expressway from Ojota, on the Lagos-IkoroduÂ Expressway, all through to Mile 12.
The two passengers disembarked from the motorbike while the LASTMA officers gave him a chase. TheÂ motorcyclist, who was riding on the service lane at top speed saw an opening to the BRT lane andÂ decided to veer into it.
An oncoming BRT bus crushed him and he died instantly. The LASTMA officers took to their heels whenÂ they saw that the motorcyclist had been killed.
Pandemonium ensued in the area as okada riders mobilized and staged a protest. The BRT bus whichÂ killed the okada rider was set on fire while an oncoming BRT was also set on fire. Social miscreantsÂ and street urchins joined the fray and helped to burn the buses.
The protesters later barricaded the highway at the Ketu axis so that vehicles going to Ikorodu wereÂ held up for some time, with people running helter and skelter to avoid trouble.
Some BRT buses made a u-turn to their office at Ojota to avoid being burnt by the irate mob. There wasÂ chaos in the area until the police arrived and shot into the air to disperse the protesters.
An armoured Personnel Carrier, APC later arrived the scene of the incident with several police patrolÂ vehicles. Armed policemen condoned off the area where the buses were burnt.
A member of the Rapid Response Squad, RRS told our reporter to leave the scene and told him not toÂ take pictures, threatening to beat him up if he disobeyed his order.
An eyewitness, who craved anonymity, told P.M.METRO that the incident occurred around 10.30 am,Â confirming that the okada rider actually wanted to enter the BRT lane through an opening when he wasÂ crushed by a BRT bus.
He said that immediately the accident occurred, he called the emergency line but the police delayed inÂ coming, adding that if they had come on time, the BRT buses would not have been burnt and theÂ situation would have been brought under control.
A police chief, Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP, Godwin Nwobodo said the police came to theÂ scene on time and were able to quell the protest and restore peace in the area.Â As at the time ofÂ filing the report, the burnt buses had been towed away, while BRT buses have stopped plying the route.Â Mr. Kayode Opeifa, Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation said nobody died during theÂ crisis.