Traditional Rulers Condemn Ojota Violence, Task Security Agencies

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• BRT operator put loss incurred at N139 million
Gboyega Akinsanmi

Traditional rulers in Ikorodu Division of Lagos State havecondemned in strong terms The recent Ojota violence, which culminated in the vandalisation of 48 high-capacity buses belonging to the bus rapid transit (BRT) operator, Primero Transport Services Limited.

The monarchs, who were led by the Ayangbure of Ikorodu, Oba Adewale Shotobi and the Ranodu of Imota, Oba Ajibade Agoro, also lamented diverse criminal activities currently undermining public order in Ikorodu Division.

They condemned the act of violence during a visit to the head office of Primero Transport Services Limited, Ikorodu on Monday, thereby tasking all security agencies in the state to rescue Ikorodu and its environs from criminal activities.

After inspecting the damaged vehicles, Agoro lamented that the residents of Ikorodu and its environs “are the people that feel the direct impact of the act of violence that led to the damage of 48 high-capacity vehicles.”

Agoro, who spoke on behalf of all the monarchs from Ikorodu Division, noted that the attack that led to the vandalism of 48 buses was not justifiable while acknowledging the loss of life in the incident could not be quantified.

He noted that it was not the best option “to resort to illegal activities to seek redress. We have laws; we should not trample upon our laws. If we all obey our laws, all these acts of violence would have been averted. There is a law that proscribes street trading. If this law was obeyed, the street trader would not have died.”

The monarch, therefore, appealed to all residents of the state “to always explore amicable means of settling differences or scores, rather than resorting to illegal self means of taking laws into their hands.”

While sympathising with the BRT operators on the loss incurred, the monarch condemned the act of violence in its entirety, thereby calling on the police authorities “to rise up to the occasion by nipping in the bud any criminal act. Our investigations showed that it was not the BRT vehicle that killed the street trader.

He lamented the activities of the pipeline vandals in some Ikorodu communities, tasking the police “to arrest the trend. We, traditional rulers, are helpless. We are concerned because this buses ply our routes thereby, helping our people to transact their businesses with ease. We can’t really quantify the loss.”

After receiving the monarchs at the head office, the Managing Director of the Ikorodu-CMS BRT operators, Mr. Fola Tinubu put the loss incurred as a result of the attack on 48 high-capacity buses to N139 millions.

The managing director lamented that what the company lost “is a huge threat to our investments in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub. What we lost is a disincentive to private investment in Nigeria.”

He explained that the loss was a clear setback “to investment drive. Nigerians must be educated to draw a line between private investment and public assets. No amount of provocation justifies the destruction of our buses.

“We have provided over 2,500 jobs since commencement of operations in November 2015 and still counting. Our royal fathers should help us appeal to the people on the need to eschew violence at every provocation and embrace peaceful means of resolving differences at all times,” he explained.

He however, disclosed that the police had already arrested about 15 suspects from different divisions for their involvement in the attack believing that justice would be done to serve as deterrent to others.