Soldiers went to a violent rampage, burning buses and beating up civilians.
BRT buses valued at N100 million were burnt and damaged by soldiers in Lagos, an official of the Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority said.
The official, who asked not to be named because he was not authorised to speak, said two of the buses burnt by the rampaging soldier had only been in operation for less than two months.
On Friday morning, after a soldier riding a motor bike on the exclusive BRT lane was allegedly knocked over by a bus driver at the Palmgrove area of Lagos, soldiers went on a destructive rampage setting fire on at least five BRT buses and damaging three others.
The soldiers also beat up bus drivers.
Despite witnesses’ accounts, the Nigerian Army spokesperson, Olajide Olaleye, denied that the soldiers set the bus ablaze.
He told PREMIUM TIMES that “area boys” caused the mayhem.
“It’s not true that the soldiers destroyed buses or set any bus on fire. What happened was that a BRT bus knocked down a soldier and killed him. As usual in Lagos, area boys gathered and a few soldiers stopped at the scene as well. The GOC has dispatched military policemen to the scene to help restore law and order,” Mr. Olaleye said.
However, when PREMIUM TIMES arrived at the scene of the mayhem, at least 30 soldiers dressed in combat fatigue and wielding AK47 assault rifle, were manhandling those caught taking pictures of the destroyed buses.
This reporter saw soldiers throw a young man who tried to take pictures into a gutter. An angry soldier dangerous waving his gun grabbed the man’s phone and smashed it on the tarred road.
Senior army officers at the scene did nothing to stop the soldiers from behaving unruly. This reporter saw at least two Lieutenant Colonels and a Brigadier General at the scene of the incidence.
The nametag of one of the Lieutenant Colonel read: M Hussaini. Some of the soldiers formed protective rings around the other senior officers; making it almost impossible to read their nametags.
The Press Secretary of the Lagos State Governor, Hakeem Bello, said the governor, Babatunde Fashola, will release a statement on the incidence later on Friday.