An unidentified secondary school girl and one other person were said to have lost their lives yesterday when fight broke out between the police and some commercial motorcycle operators at the Iyana-Ipaja area of Lagos.
The teenage girl was said to have been hit by a stray bullet fired during the clash, which grounded human and commercial activities in the area.
Many persons also sustained injuries in the fracas, which started around 8am yesterday at the very busy Iyana-Ipaja bus stop and grounded commercial activities in the area.
The clash occurred barely 24 hours after the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, vowed to intensify enforcement on the restriction of commercial motorcycle and tricycle operation in local councils.
Yesterday’s crisis started as a protest by the riders but later degenerated into a riot, with properties worth millions destroyed. The protesters allegedly set some buses on fire and assaulted innocent passers-by.
Daily Trust gathered that the police and some task force members had gone to Iyana-Ipaja bus stop to arrest commercial motorcycle and tricycle riders who had allegedly violated the restriction order, and seize their vehicles.
It was gathered that the task force team seized many motorcycles, a development which sparked violence as youths barricaded the street.
Gunshots were fired at the hoodlums, who retaliated with stones and other dangerous weapons.
The crisis later spread to Iyana-Ipaja bus stop, where the task force men tear-gassed the protesters in their effort to control the situation.
The protesters set a van belonging to the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) on fire.
One of the protesters, Mohammed Mohammed, told our correspondent that he and his colleagues were not working with their motorcycles when the task force arrived and broke the gate to a house, shooting into the air before taking away some motorcycles.
“They are still around Iyana-Ipaja roundabout. We will not stop burning tyres until we retrieve our okada. They beat us when we didn’t do anything to them. We are going to fight back,” Muhammed said.
Witnesses account claimed that the police fired tear gas canisters and guns to disperse the protesters.
“It was some of those bullets that claimed the lives of the school girl and another person,” a commercial bus driver, Seun Anifowose, alleged.
A resident in Iyana Ipaja, Kunle Tejumaye, also told our correspondent, “some policemen came out early in the morning to raid okada riders and started firing teargas. Even in the inner streets, residents had to run for cover. I spoke to my CDA chairman and he also confirmed the same thing to me.
“This is not what Sanwo-Olu asked the police to do. These roads are not part of those restricted by the ban so why are the police harassing people going about their lawful businesses? It is only keke NAPEP and okada that can ply this route because of the deplorable situation of the roads. We ask for government’s help to stop these policemen from going beyond what they have been asked to do.”
A witness, @Peju, who took to his Twitter page, said, “There is serious shooting and riot in Iyana Ipaja between the task force and local bike men. God will protect us all.”
Another Twitter, identified as @Mariamuwane, said, “I’m in the middle of a freaking riot at Iyana Ipaja, they’re destroying buses, there’re gunshots and stone throwing. Everyone should stay away, you can’t get away with your vehicles because they are being destroyed.”
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