A soldier was allegedly killed by a BRT bus, the Lagos BRT has removed its mass transit buses from the road as many of its buses were vandalised early Friday.
Soldiers allegedly went on a rampage along Ikorodu Road in Lagos destroying BRT buses, residents have said.
The soldiers’ action was said to be caused by a BRT bus that allegedly run a soldier over at the Palmgrove bus stop killing him.
However, eyewitnesses at the scene of the mayhem said the soldier that was knocked down by the bus was on the BRT lane and wasn’t killed.
Some of them said he made a pbone call after he was knocked down and refused to listen to the pleas from those at the scene to forgive the driver of the bus.
Apparently the incident has caused massive traffic leading all the way to the Berger area of Lagos.
Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Army, Gen. Olajide Olaleye, said “area boys,” not Nigerian soldiers carried out the rampage.
“It’s not true that soldier destroyed buses or set any bus on fire,” he said.
“What happened was that a BRT bus knocked down a soldier and killed him. As usual in Lagos so area boys gathered and a few soldiers stopped at the scene as well.
“The GOC has dispatched military policemen to the scene to help restore law and order.”
LAMATA Public Relations Officer could not talk on the incident immediately.
One of the soldiers captured on camera smashing a BRT windscreen
Over six burnt buses and three others with broken windscreen were seen.
Contrary to information given by the military, an Army official Peugeot 404 car with registration number NA 911934 was seen parked by the roadside.
Another Army bus, with an inscription that had ‘NAEC Welfare Bus’, was also parked close to the Peugeot car.
Eyewitnesses on ground at the Elediye bus stop said two journalists were beaten up, drilled mercilessly before a crowd of onlookers and had their cameras confiscated.
Soldiers were said to had mounted the vicinity to stop anybody from taking pictures.
Many people on ground told reporters that the soldiers commenced operation as early as 7 am after a BRT bus knocked down a soldier riding a motor-bike on Ikorodu expressway. The man was said to have died on the spot.
There were conflicting reports on the exact point the accident took place. A man from the Onipanu end of the road said it happened at Onipanu, but there were no signs of such at the bus stop. Another person reported that the soldier was killed at the Palmgrove end of the road. Our correspondent did not see any sign that it happened there.
But the overriding narrative remained that a BRT bus knocked down a soldier whose wife just put to bed, a baby which naming was yet be planned.
Some of the irate soldiers were overheard asking, “Why would BRT kill our colleague?”
The soldiers had a field day – and are still having. Two security men inside Palmgrove Estate confirmed to our reporter, and two other press men, that they did not know how the incident started or who was killed, but that they suddenly saw people running towards the gate of the estate, a situation which prompted them to hurriedly lock the gate.
Then, suddenly, the soldiers came to the gate, started pushing and in the process got one of the security men, an old man, injured in his arm and leg. They then got in, started beating the security men randomly. From their attack, a security man sustained a major injury that saw him rushed to Ultima Medicare Clinic, a hospital just behind the estate gate.
Reporters were denied access to the injured man by the hospital management. The head of security, apparently jittery and apprehensive of what might become their fate in the hands of the soldiers on a possible second time visit if the story gets published, simply said it was an internal issue which they were resolving internally.
On the Awoyokun side of the road, our reporter saw an injured young man seated by the road side. He had bruises on his ankle. When asked what happened to him, he said he fell while running from the soldiers on rampage.
He however refused to have anybody take a picture of the injuries, opting to quietly go nurse them at home.
Nicholas Ibekwe, a reporter with online news platform, Premium Times, said he called General Olajide Olaleye, Army Public Relations Officer, and he said the mayhem was caused by area boys and not soldiers.
But this is contrary to the views of hundreds of eye witnesses to the razing of the BRT buses. Political blogger and Editor of The Scoop, Stanley Azuakola, said that he witnessed the soldiers dousing the buses with petrol right in front of the Plamgrove Petrol Station.
When he called the attention of a female soldier commanding her colleagues to the sensitivity of doing that before a filling station, the woman hushed him up and threatened to beat him.
The denial falls into a long standing tradition of lies and half-truths by the Army. For instance, in April when nearly 300 teenage girls were kidnapped from their school in the North Eastern town of Chibok, the Army quickly announced to the world that they had rescued a good number of the girls. It took the inquisitiveness of the public to force them to retract the claim, blaming the earlier lie on unverified information from their men in the field.
It is yet to be seen how the Lagos state government will respond to today’s siege of a major road in the metropolis by members of one the nation’s oldest institutions: the Nigerian Army