There was pandemonium on Tuesday at the Five Star bus stop on the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos State, as a yet-to-be-identified bus driver was lynched by a mob.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the driver and his conductor had been beaten to a pulp and set ablaze before policemen from the Answani Division responded to a distress call. While the conductor was reportedly rescued and rushed to a hospital, the driver was said to have died.
There were, however, two accounts of what led to the incident.
Our correspondent gathered that trouble started after the driver, who had picked some passengers from the Ikotun area, said he was no longer continuing the journey.
He allegedly stopped at the Five Star bus stop.
A source told our correspondent, “The passengers kicked and said he must take them to Toyota bus stop, which was the final bus stop. The man refused and said he was ready to refund their fares. While some collected their money and went away, others said he must continue the journey.
“That started an argument and before anyone knew it, it degenerated into fisticuffs. Some guys around the area joined and they started beating up the driver and the conductor. In self-defence, the driver took a knife and stabbed one of his assailants to death.
“That got the mob angry. They put tyres on the necks of both the driver and his conductor and set them ablaze. They also burnt their bus.”
Our correspondent learnt that the incident happened around 7am.
A Facebook user, Christopher Ezinne, who claimed to be an eyewitness, however, said the fight started after the bus conductor refused to give a passenger his N100 change.
He stated, “I saw it live with my own eyes. A boy serving his master at Ladipo (market) came down from the bus at Five Star bus stop. He asked the conductor for his N100 change and the conductor picked a fight with him.
“According to a source, the boy is an Igbo boy and he had used his Igbo bone to beat the conductor black and blue. The conductor could not take the beating, so he decided to use a weapon. He grabbed a knife and stabbed the Igbo boy to death.
“The Agberos and Igbo traders there caught the conductor and burnt him to death. They went after the driver; he parked (the vehicle) and ran for his life. They burnt his bus in front of Emzor (Pharmaceutical) company.”
But the state Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Chike Oti, said it was the driver who died.
He explained that the intervention of policemen from the Answani Division led to the rescue of the conductor, adding that the hoodlums attacked the cops and broke the windscreens of their vehicles.
Oti said, “They burnt the vehicle (bus) and put tyres on the necks of both the conductor and the driver. They alleged that the driver stabbed one of them to death. But that cannot be true, because nobody has reported to us that anyone was knifed or killed.
“A distress call was made to our people and they rescued both the conductor and the driver. However, the driver, who had been affected by the fire, died on the way to the University of Lagos Teaching Hospital, Idi Araba. Those people were so many and they were even trying to stop our men from rescuing them. Our men were stoned and two officers were injured. Our vehicles were also vandalised.”
The police spokesperson, while condemning jungle justice, said investigations were ongoing into the incident.
He noted that some suspects had been arrested.