No fewer than four members of Edo State Taskforce have been reported missing during a bloody clash with Commercial bus drivers in Benin City. The quartet were reportedly seized by suspected hoodlums who hijacked protest by angry drivers on Tuesday afternoonat New Benin market in Benin City. Trouble reportedly started when officials of PUWOV charged
No fewer than four members of
Edo State Taskforce have been reported missing during a bloody clash with Commercial bus drivers in Benin City.
The quartet were reportedly seized by suspected hoodlums who hijacked protest by angry drivers on Tuesday afternoonat New Benin market in Benin City.
Trouble reportedly started when officials of PUWOV charged with regulating activities of commercial drivers, street trading, seized a commercial bus belonging to a driver simply identified as Mr. Jude who allegedly parked to load his vehicle in an unauthorised area.
PUWOV officials were alleged to have driven the bus away and the action angered the driver who was said to have approached them so that they could release the vehicle to him but all his pleading fell on deaf ears.
Sources said that the driver out of frustration, stood in front of the bus as he prevailed on the task force members to release the bus to him but was coincidentally overrun by the bus and lost his legs in the accident and was immediately taken to St. Philomena Catholic hospital on Dawson road in Benin City for treatment.
The accident, according to witnesses, brought commercial activities to a halt at the popular market and adjoining areas in Benin City.
Angry youths in the area were said to have beaten to the four officials to pulp and detained them in their custody at Costain Upper mission axis, which is less than one kilometer from the market.
It was gathered that the officials who got a close shave with death were however released two hours later, following the intervention o operatives of the Nigeria Police Force who fired sporadic gunshots that scared the hoodlums away.
The State Coordinator of the Public Works Volunteers, PUWOV, Mukhtar Yusuf Osagie, condemned the attack on PUWOV members.
He lauded the policemen for responding to distressed calls and saved the situation from degenerating into a massacre.
Osagie spoke at an audience participatory radio station programme on Wednesday morning which was monitored in Benin City.
He said members of PUWOV were injured while six of his members wounded while their 14-seater operational vehicle was set ablaze by hoodlums during the brawl.
Osagie said to have started when an Official of PUWOV, arrested a Commercial bus driver, identified as Mr. Jude for traffic offence at New Benin market.
He admitted that the traffic offender was knocked down by a moving vehicle while resisting arrest.
He also denied report in a section of the media that the driver is dead.
According to him, “The driver stood in front of the vehicle that was in motion and in the process, he was knocked down.
“My attention was drawn to the incident at about 12noon on Tuesday. I was somewhere else when the incident happened.
” Those miscreants held our men set our vehicle ablaze. Federal State Anti-robbery squad, F-SARS, saved the day. At least many persons would have been dead”, he said.
Another witness, Mr. Bright Abulimhen, a son of a retired top policeman, described the alleged impunity of the commercial bus drivers”.
The bus driver, Mr. Jude alleged that he became unconscious after he was knocked down by a moving vehicle when a staff of the Taskforce was behind the wheel.
He alleged that he regained consciousness when he was revived in the hospital hours after the incident which was convulsed in a traffic snarl.
Jude who appealed to kind-hearted philanthropic individuals and organizations to come to his aide haven escaped been prosecuted in mobile court.
‘I am not dead. But, I can not work. A good Samaritan took me to hospital. And as I speak, I have been abandoned and no money to pay my medical bills”, he said.
Mr. Christopher Chuks who claimed to have witnessed the attack, described the flagrant disobedience of some Commercial bus drivers as highly embarrassing.
He said the bus driver who was accused of violating traffic rules and voluntarily submitted his keys to the enforcing agent before Mr. Jude suddenly went berserk and stood in front of a moving vehicle belonging to him.
Whimarkete traders at New Benin market called for the disbandment of the Committee and establishment of a Central motor park to among others address traffic related matters, others, others, accused PUWOV of being involved in selective prosecution of traffic offenders and extortion.
Recall that in April 2019, scores of traders who displayed their wares at unauthorized location at New Benin market, narrowed escaped death.
The tragedy which was averted was due to break failure of a truck driver.
Already, Police source, said some suspects have been arrested in connection with the attack on PUWOV official and alleged destruction of Edo State government vehicle.
Checks carried out by our Correspondent, indicates that have withdrawn its operations around new Benin market indefinitely in connection with the incident, which has become a depressingly familiar ring.