3rd February, 2015
There was pandemonium at New Benin market area of Benin City in the early hours of Tuesday evening, following a clash between commercial bus drivers plying New Benin-Mission road route and some policemen attached to New Benin Police Division.
Trouble was said to have started after a driver whose name was given simply as Osama, was said to have been bruised for allegedly refusing to part with N1000.
Eyewitnesses had it that Osama who was said to be in company of his wife and son, was allegedly hit and dragged on the tarred road by a police van after he was accosted by the policemen for driving dangerously.
The policemen were said to have stopped him and demanded N1,000 from him after he allegedly made a u-turn along the Mission Road.
A eyewitness said that all pleas by Osama and his wife were rebuffed by the policemen who later hit Osama and dragged him on the tarred road.
This prompted other commercial bus drivers who thought he was dead to attack a policeman and beat him to stupor, leaving him for dead.
The enraged drivers set-up bonfires and refused to pick passengers, even as Osama was reportedly taken to an undisclosed hospital for treatment.
Following the confusion, traders hurriedly locked up their shops to avert being trapped in the crisis.
As at press time, there were still shootings and firing of tear-gas by policemen mobilised to disperse the crowd.
The State Commissioner of Police, Foluso Adebanjo, who confirmed the incident, said no life was lost. He also denied reports from some quarters that a policeman was beaten to death by angry drivers.
“Nobody died in the incident. I am aware of sme serious injury and the person is in the hospital. No policeman was killed,” Adebanjo said.