On Monday, March 7, 2022, news filled the air about the sudden death of Oluwabamise Ayanwola, a 22-year-old fashion designer at Chevron Estate, Ajah, Lagos. Olubamse had boarded a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Aja to Oshodi on her way to spend the weekend with her brother whose wife was pregnant.
Bamise, who in her lifetime worked Monday to Friday every week, usually, returns to Ota at the weekend to be with her sister who resides there. On this very day, Saturday, March 5, she boarded the BRT at about 7pm after the close of work for the day, and week.
On the way, she began to sense some abnormalities. First, the driver switched off the inner lights and did not stop to pick other passengers on their way even with many people at bus stops waiting to be picked up.
Bamise also sent a video to her friend showing how dark it was in the bus and reportedly said: “There are three men and one woman in the bus. The woman is sitting at the back. That’s the number of the bus in case. Please pray for me.’’
That was the last that was heard from Bamise.
We fervently demand that this incident would not go the way of the Clifford Orji scenario. Election season is already upon us. And as is well known, many ritualistic incidences will be unfolding
However, as her friend tried to get across to Bamise through the phone, she only noticed that there was noise at the other end of the line and Bamise was not able to respond to her.
On sensing the danger inherent in the sudden development, the family members lodged a report at the Akinpelu Police Station in Oshodi. But unfortunately, the police did not take their report seriously. Hence, did not act on time.
Andrew Omininikoron Nice, the driver of the BRT, was said to have diverted the bus to another route before the unfortunate death of the young woman was uncovered.
Ultimately, the mutilated body of Bamise was found at the Carter Bridge on Monday with eyewitnesses stating that she was thrown out of the bus.
Apparently and subsequently, the driver took to his heels after parking the vehicle. He went to Odogbolu in Ogun State to take refuge.
Indeed, but for technology, Omininikoron Nice could have escaped arrest as the police did not respond on time when the information got to them.
Life was snuffed out of the 22-year-old, however, the driver had been arrested.
In a quick response to the incident, the Lagos State governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in an effort to exonerate the state from public opinion, contended that the franchised BRT vehicle boarded by Bamise was locally supplied and hence, lacked in-built camera. He also noted that while the buses procured for BRT from abroad had short-circuit cameras, those locally supplied to boost the transport operations do not come with this facility. This is an interesting excuse for the death of an innocent citizen.
We would have been much happier to hear the governor promise that henceforth, BRT buses without close-circuit televisions (CCTV) and lights at night would be withdrawn and replaced with CCTV and lights. What Nigerians need is soft-security, providing what makes life easy and safe for the people and not otherwise. The fact remains that the death of Bamise in the manner it came has exposed some of the security lapses of Lagos State. It is quite easy to make massive media noise to portray the best of images for a government.
But the truth remains that the taste of the pudding is in the eating.
Where are the CCTV contraptions which we were made to believe are installed in Lagos streets and roads? Why were there no security patrols on the highways? Rather, many of them are found at almost every junction and streets of Lagos, collecting N100 from motorists via their corrupt partners. These are issues the government should not hesitate to provide answers to.
Come to think of it, Bamise might not have been the only victim of this kind of nefarious act. other innocent persons might also have fallen prey to this ugly practice. There is every tendency that Omininikoron Nice operated with other members of a syndicate, who are yet to be uncovered.
Therefore, the security operatives should ensure that all those involved in the death of Bamise are brought to book. The two other men Nice cited in his video interview must be unveiled, same for the native doctor or spiritualist where the missing parts of Bamise’s body were taken to.
We fervently demand that this incident would not go the way of the Clifford Orji scenario. Election season is already upon us. And as is well known, many ritualistic incidents will be unfolding. However, if those we trusted with power to govern us are sincere in this, then, they must prove it by bringing the perpetrators of this crime to book.
We commend the communication service providers who helped in tracking down the driver where he was hiding at Odogbolu. Of a reality, technology is driving the socio-economic setting of contemporary society. Without the technological innovation, Nice and possibly his group would have remained at large, unidentified.
More security personnel must be on our major roads and highways for vigilance, not for the money-making venture they are currently known for. The CCTVs should be mounted at strategic places to track untoward incidents like this.
Our government should be more proactive than reactive. The lecture of the governor, though good, is a reaction rather coming too late after a citizen’s needless death. BRT management should apologise for not educating end-users before now. We wish to reiterate here that this dastardly incident must not be allowed to repeat itself.
Proper measures must be put in place to ensure that Lagos is safe for us all.