A Lagos resident, Bashiru Shakiru, lost his life when suspected hoodlums gunned him down during an attack on commercial tricycle operators in the Kola area of the Ijaiye-Ojokoro Local Council Development Area of Lagos State.
It was gathered that Shakiru was fleeing from the scene of the attack when the hoodlums accosted him, destroyed his tricycle and shot him dead.
Again, a passer-by, who is yet to be identified, was said to be seeking a safe place to hide during the attack when a commercial bus suddenly knocked him down and killed him.
Trouble reportedly started when a known hoodlum mobilised others to attack the tricycle operators for refusing his demand for the payment of an alleged illegal fee of N500 per tricycle operator before conveying people to their various destinations in the area.
It was learnt that the tricycle operators refused to pay the charge to the hoodlum and his accomplices, because officials of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Branch D, Agbado-Oke Odo, which they belong to, had earlier collected money from them.
One of the injured victims, also a commercial tricycle operator, Saheed Adebayo, explained that he was conveying passengers to their various destinations when the hoodlums attacked him.
“I was conveying passengers when the hoodlums stopped me and started attacking me with cutlasses and axes. They cut my head, hand, laps and buttocks; the people around rushed me to hospital for treatment,” the 30-year-old said.
Confirming the incident, an eyewitness, Kazeem Akinbode, said he knew when the hoodlums shot Shakiru, who died while being rushed to hospital.
The 41-year-old tricycle operator said, “I was there when Shakiru was killed; we were on our way when the hoodlums attacked us around Merit junction and we all ran for safety and while running, I saw that the boy (Shakiru) was shot in the stomach.
“We tried to rescue him but he died on the way to hospital.”
Lamenting the incident, the Chairman, NURTW, Branch D, Agbado-Oke Odo, Azeez Abiola, said that the hoodlums were fond of attacking members of his union, condemned Shakiru’s killing.
Abiola said, “The hoodlums are not just attacking us, whenever they attack, they burn our tricycles, break the windshields of our tricycles and injure our members. We have reported them to the police; some of the hoodlums were arrested and charged to court. We thought the matter had been resolved.
“But on Monday, the hoodlums mobilised again and were demanding an illegal fee of N500 from each tricycle operator and our members reported to us and we instructed them not to give money to anybody who did not have the NURTW tickets. So, the hoodlums got annoyed and started attacking them; the hoodlums injured the tricycle operators with weapons and ran away, only for them to reinforce around 6pm and started shooting at our members.
“I reported to the Divisional Police Officer of the Alagbado Police Station, who sent patrol men to areas where the hoodlums were attacking us, but the hoodlums were shooting and harassing people even in the presence of the police.
“During the attack, they shot one of our members, Shakiru, in the stomach and he died on the spot. The other person, who was killed was trying to escape from the scene of the attack when he was crushed to death by a commercial bus.”
The NURTW chief said that some of the injured operators were taken to the G and T Hospital for treatment, while the remains of Shakiru were buried in accordance to Islamic rites.
Also commenting on the incident, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said three suspects had been arrested in connection with the crime, adding that they had been charged to court.
Elkana said, “There was a fight between hoodlums and tricycle operators on Monday and three suspects were arrested that day. The suspects have been charged to court.
“We don’t have the record of who was killed, because nobody came forward to tell us that anybody was killed in that incident. So, if there is any, the family should meet with the DPO to give a statement.”