Tragedy struck on Thursday in Abeokuta in the Oke Ilewo area of the ancient city when a bullion van crushed a 22-year-old man, Gbenga Okesola, to death.
The van, according to an eyewitness, hit the victim, who was riding a motorcycle around the OPIC Plaza Roundabout.
According to the eyewitness, the rider fell under the vehicle, which dragged him on the road for about five kilometres, before it stopped.
The SPY policemen escorting the van were said to have dragged the victim, who was still breathing, from under the van and dropped him by the roadside before the vehicle zoomed off.
The action was said to have angered other commercial motorcyclists, who resorted to a violent protest, attacking law enforcement agents and passersby.
Policemen were later deployed in the area, which led to a face-off between them and the protesters who hauled stones, bottles and other missiles at them.
The policemen had to fire tear gas canisters to disperse them. Doors of eateries, commercial banks and shops in the area were hurriedly shut, as residents, who were caught up in the pandemonium, ran for dear lives.
The victim, who was a carpentry apprentice, was said to be on his way to a computer shop in the area to buy a memory card, when the incident occurred.
An eyewitness, Modinat Salman, said the victim could have been saved, if he had been rushed to a nearby hospital.
She said, “I saw everything when it happened. The bullion van hit the man and dragged him on the road.
“The police escort following the van, merely pulled him out from under the vehicle and dumped him on the walkway, and left. They could have rushed him to hospital, because he was still breathing. But suddenly, more policemen came and started firing tear-gas canisters at everybody.”
The crisis lasted for over three hours before normalcy was restored.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, said the bullion van belonged to one of the new generation banks in the state and was driven by a SPY official, trained by the police and paid for by the bank to move cash from one point to another.
He said the driver of the bullion van had been arrested, while the vehicle was in the custody of the police.
He said, “The vehicle dragged the rider for about five kilometres, and the police escort attached to the van pulled out the man and abandoned him. This was what angered the people.
“Presently, we have arrested the driver of the bullion van and the vehicle too is in our custody. The law will take its course and justice will be done.”
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