Angry truck drivers blocked the Oshodi/Apapa motorway in Lagos in protest over the alleged murder of one of their coworkers by a police officer assigned to the Lagos State Task Force on Tuesday.
According to reports, the task force squad came to Mile Two, end of the expressway, early on Tuesday to impound vehicles that block the axis and prevent other drivers from using it.
The team was said to have seen a truck parked at the centre of the road. The driver of the car, Toheeb Girisi, reportedly refused police attempts to tow it because he said he was pouring water into the vehicle’s radiator.
Eyewitness accounts say another police officer allegedly shot Girisi from behind as he struggled with one of the officers.
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In protest, truck drivers burnt used tyres on both sides of the router, preventing incoming and outgoing traffic from using the expressway.
Before continuing their journey, commuters and drivers had to wait for the tension to subside.
One of the deceased’s coworkers, Ayuba, said, “Toyeeb was 25. He had just loaded from Tin Can and was on his way to deliver the product.
“He rented an apartment and had some of the property he bought in the truck. His mother left here not quite long. He wasn’t married and had no child to carry on his legacy.”
“We were all waiting for our turn to move and load our trucks when we heard the gunshot. It was fired exactly at 2.45 am of Tuesday, September 5, 2023.” another eyewitness identified as Austine said.
However, it took additional police officers from several divisions and military personnel to restore order.
Idowu Owohunwa, the commissioner of police for the Lagos State Police Command, and a few other senior officers went to the scene.
The CP was seen speaking to several police officers and promising that the situation would be investigated.
In response, the now-defunct Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations, or COMTUA, denounced the truck driver’s murder and called it a horrifying act of violence.
According to a statement by Adeyinka Aroyewun, COMTUA’s former National President, “It is with great sadness that we learned about this horrific act of violence, which has not only taken the life of an individual but has also sent shock waves throughout the transportation community. The loss of a fellow truck driver, who was merely carrying out his duties, is truly disheartening and a blow to the industry.”
Aroyewun appealed to Governor Sanwo-Olu to act swiftly and decisively to safeguard the safety and security of all transport employees in Lagos. He said, “We firmly believe that every worker, regardless of his profession, is entitled to a safe working environment.
“Law enforcement agencies and government bodies must take immediate and decisive action to ensure the safety and security of all transport workers in Lagos. We implore you to investigate this incident thoroughly, bring the perpetrators to justice and prevent such incidents from occurring.
“In light of this tragic event, we urge all stakeholders, including the truck drivers and their unions, to remain calm and composed during these challenging times.
“We must maintain peace and solidarity while allowing the appropriate authorities to conduct a thorough investigation. We encourage everyone to exercise restraint and avoid engaging in any retaliatory act that may further escalate tensions.
“Furthermore, we kindly request that you communicate our concerns to the relevant governmental bodies responsible for ensuring the safety of transport workers. We believe a collaborative effort between law enforcement agencies, government officials, and transport unions is essential to create a safer working environment.
“The Council of Maritime Transport Unions and Associations stand in solidarity with the deceased truck driver’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. We extend our heartfelt condolences to them and assure them of our support and commitment to justice.” the statement read.