Hell was let loose, on Wednesday, in Lagos, as suspected hoodlums vandalised about 14 state government-run Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) buses.
The buses belonged to the Primero Transport Service Ltd. The incident occurred along the busy Ikorodu Road at the city centre.
Some eyewitnesses say that the trouble started after a street hawker, who was evading arrest by Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) officials was knocked down by an articulated vehicle at Maryland Bus Stop.
No sooner than the incident occurred, the suspected hoodlums pounced on the mass transit vehicles to vent their anger over the death of the street hawker.
But reacting to the report, the Lagos State Government denied that a BRT bus knocked down the hawker, saying that the hawker, who was trying to evade arrest from the KAI official, “had attempted to cross the road before being hit by a truck, which was erroneously thought to be a BRT Bus,” as contained in a statement issued by Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde.
Mr Adedeji Adeosun, a driver with the company, whose vehicle was vandalised said: “I was in traffic for about 20 minutes at Maryland.
“Then I saw some people running from Maryland and I opened the door to see what was happening.
“I heard shouts from people that we should come down, so, I immediately removed my uniform.
“I saw about 100 of the hoodlums otherwise called `area boys’ coming with stones and so I ran away.
“All the passengers on board my bus also came down and ran for dear life. I was hit by a big stone’’.
Another driver, Mr Michael Onabolu, said: “I saw people running and shouting that I should come down from the bus.
“And all of a sudden, I saw some guys surrounding the buses and asking my passengers and I to come down.
“Before I knew it, one of them hit the bus with a big stone and I could not move because of the traffic. I was wounded on my hands and my tights with stones’’.
He said that a passenger sitting beside him was also hit by a stone, adding that all the passengers were moved to other buses to reach their destinations.
A commuter, Mr Elijah Omotayo, who was attacked in the process, said that the mob told the driver to open the door which the passengers asked him not to do.
The release issued by Ayorinde continued, “It wasn’t any of our buses that killed him (hawker), it was a soft drink company truck that unfortunately crushed the boy while he was trying to escape from KAI officers who were on patrol trying to rid the street of street hawkers and traders.
“But hoodlums now took advantage of that to start destroying government assets, including several of the brand new BRT buses,” he said.