Pandemonium as soldier beat up ‘pilot’ on wheels

BRTThe Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority, LAMATA, regulator of the Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, may have to improve on training for its drivers, humorously referred to as ‘pilots.’

Pandemonium was averted Thursday afternoon at the Palmgrove bus stop along Ikorodu road, Lagos, when an ‘unknown’ soldier descended on a driver conveying passengers from Ojota, to the Lagos Island.

The ‘pilot,’ driving a blue bus number MUS 192 XL, apparently on top speed, had failed to avoid a ditch during the rain, whereby splashing water on a cyclist in military uniform.

The enraged cyclist however crossed the bus and walked up to the driver whom he hit severally. The driver managed to escape continued beating, and took refuge among the agitated passengers.

When asked why he couldn’t face the soldier, the driver, who immediately pulled his uniform to disguise among his numerous passengers, said, ‘I cannot allow him to beat me to death.’

It however took the intervention of the passengers, some of who shielded the bus driver, to appeal to the soldiers, who was bent on continuing his rage which halted the bus for about 15 minutes in the heavy rain.

Commenting on the mild drama, commuters were divided on the situation which had halted the bus for quarter of an hour.

‘Soldiers are people you don’t fight because when tragedy happens due to their rage, they become ‘unknown’ soldiers and you can’t prosecute them,’ said a commuter, who was rebuked by another elderly passenger.

“What the soldier did was bad and we have to face the fact here, does he want to kill the driver? He had the effrontery to beat up the man on the driver’s seat, not minding a possible accident. It’s true the driver ran into the ditch, whereby splashing mud water on the soldier. Does that require street fighting? These soldiers need to be trained on being civil, we are in a democratic government for God’s sake,” the elder complained.

It would be recalled that sometimes last year; pandemonium broke out around the Onipanu area of same Ikorodu road, after a soldier was allegedly knocked down and killed by one of the buses in the fleet of LAGBUS on the BRT lane.

The soldier was said to have been hit after he allegedly rode on the BRT lane, which is only for designated buses.

As a result, the victim soldier, identified as Lance Corporal Matthew Ishaya, died in the accident. However, some military men from the Intelligence Unit of the Nigerian Army at Yaba, stormed the Onipanu area of the highway, demanding to know the circumstances surrounding the death of the soldier.

Several buses from the LAGBUS fleet were allegedly destroyed during the rage, though a spokesman for the Army formation in Yaba, Lagos, Rightman Ogeh, who spoke to a radio station in Lagos a day after the incidence, however, denied that the soldiers from the unit burnt buses or harassed passersby or commuters.




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