“I do not know how damaging public property is the restitution for any injury that may have come.”
The Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola, has described the action of soldiers who went on a violent rampage, Friday morning, destroying at least eight BRT buses, as disappointing and worthy of condemnation.
Mr. Fashola, who promised to issue a robust response as soon as he gets a formal report of what happened, said if preliminary details available to him were correct, then the soldiers’ action was irresponsible.
“There is allegation that someone who was not supposed to be on the BRT route was on it. As far I know, if something happens to you while you are conducting an unlawful act, it is criminal offense in its own sense,” he said.
“But it is really disappointing that public servants and that is what soldiers are, paid with tax payer’s money, will act in a manner that is being suggested; because I am waiting for official report to let me know who played what role and what happened and whether the brigade commander has been able to identify the people who committed the offense,” he added, while addressing journalists on Friday evening.
On Friday morning, soldiers went on a rampage burning at least six BRT buses and damaging at least two others after a BRT bus reportedly ran over a soldier riding on a motorbike and killing him. Unconfirmed reports later suggested that the soldier did not die.
Despite eyewitnesses’ accounts and picture evidence that showed soldiers destroy the buses, the army has absorbed its officials of any blame.
“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,” Army spokesperson, Olajide Olaleye, told PREMIUM TIMES.
Mr. Fashola recalled that Friday’s incident was not the first time soldiers would act in such manner in the state. According to him, in 2006, soldiers attacked a police barracks, razing it to the ground.
“I remember in 2006 when soldiers stormed barracks and set the place ablaze, that is the Area ‘C’ Police Command. We just managed to reconstruct the command. If buses that citizens are complaining are not enough are set ablaze, I do not know how setting ablaze buses recompense any injury that one may have suffered.
“I do not know how damaging public property is the restitution for any injury that may have come. For now, the only thing that I can say to you is that when I get the full fact, I will address the residents, to let them know what happened and what the state’s action will be.”