Pandemonium broke out yesterday at Sanya Bus Stop along the Apapa-Oshodi expressway, Lagos State, after some officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) allegedly killed a tanker driver identified as Salisu Sani, 30.
The state traffic management agency however said its personnel were not involved or responsible for the incident.
The incident which occurred at about 6:20am disrupted traffic for almost eight hours on the busy road, as rampaging youths set up bonfires on the highway.
The protesters, comprising tanker drivers rebuffed all entreaties from the operatives of Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Festac Police Division and soldiers to leave the road.
It was learnt that the driver of the petrol-laden tanker marked ABJ 758XD parked beside Port Terminal to observe his morning prayers when the LASTMA team numbering about four struck.
According to Abdulahi, he pointed to where his boss(the driver) was praying and one of the LASTMA went there to meet him.
He said: “They were arguing. I think it was about money. As the driver and one of the LASTMA men were arguing, another one entered the trailer and was driving it off.
“The driver rushed down and asked the man why he was driving his tanker. He told the man that his tanker was on the service lane and that if he wanted to arrest him, he should have told him to come and drive his vehicle to wherever they wanted to take him.
“The LASTMA officer did not listen. He was still driving the tanker and so the driver ran and was climbing the vehicle through the passenger side.
“By this time, two of the LASTMA men returned into their vehicle and drove off.
“So, as the driver mounted the trailer from the passenger side, the LASTMA officer who was on the ground dragged his clothe, pulling him to the ground.
“As soon as he fell down, the LASTMA vehicle that went to turn, crushed his head. As soon as the LASTMA officer on the ground saw what has happened he told his colleague on the steering that my boss was dead and they both rushed into their vehicle zoomed off, without parking the tanker well. I was the one who applied the hand brakes before taking my boss to the hospital.
“There was only one tanker behind me. I saw what happened from where I was praying prayers and when I rushed to the scene, my boss was bleeding from his head.
“I called a commercial tricyclist and begged him to assist me. We took my boss to a private hospital but the doctor there said we should take him to general hospital. By the time we got to general hospital, the doctor said he was dead,” said Abdulahi.
Continuing, Abdulahi who said the driver was his kinsman from Kaduna State, told The Nation that the deceased was married with three children.
After about seven hours of meetings and persuasions, the security agents led by the RRS Commander, Olatunji Disu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) decided to apply minimal force to get the disperse the protesters and free the road.
Disu who had earlier appealed to the people to take the corpse so that the deceased can be buried according to Islamic rites, ordered his men to put out the burning tyres and disperse the crowd without firing teargas or gunshots.
Speaking to The Nation at the scene, Disu said their only motive was to restore peace and clear the expressway of gridlock.
Describing the incident as unfortunate, the spokesman of LASTMA, Mr.Mahmud Hassan, said that operatives of the agency were not involved in the incident.
He said: “It’s indeed an unfortunate and sad incident. However, LASTMA officials were not involved in the incident. As a matter of fact , no single operative or patrol vehicle of LASTMA was at the vicinity of the incident. The police should carry out thorough investigations, unravel the culprits and bring them to justice.”
Confirming the incident, the state police command’s spokesperson, Dolapo Badmos, a Superintendent of Police (SP) said: “The victim was rushed to AMC Hospital Amuwo Odofin where he died. Policemen have been deployed to the vicinity to restore normalcy while all stakeholders are being pacified to prevent further breakdown of law and order. Investigation has commenced to unravel what actually transpired.”
Source: The Nation