Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Two persons have been reportedly killed by daredevil armed robbers who unleashed mayhem on passengers and motorists along the Benin-Lagos Road, Edo State, in the early hours of thursday.
The incident, THISDAY gathered, created serious gridlock for more than 10 hours due to the blockade by commercial bus drivers to register their anger over incessant armed robbery attacks at a spot around Okada including that of thursday morning which they said claimed the lives of two persons.
In the latest of the robbery attacks, a driver and his conductor were said to have been killed, making the commercial drivers to block the road to draw the attention of authorities to what was described as regular armed robbery attacks in the area.
Johnson Saliu, a commercial bus driver who transports newspapers on daily basis from Lagos to Benin and was caught up in the traffic, said he arrived at the spot at about 3:30p.m. and left at about 1:15a.m., adding that newspapers coming from the South-west to Benin and other areas were held by the traffic.
He pointed out that people transporting chicken lost some of their birds in the traffic due to heat, while those transporting pigs battled to save the lives of the pigs.
Against this backdrop therefore, the state Governor, Godwin Obaseki, had to direct the state Commissioner of Police, Haliru Gwandu; the state Director of Department of State Services (DSS), Ibrahim Hiliu, and the Secretary to State Government (SSG), Osarodion Ogie, to relocate to the scene of the incident, around Okada junction.
Normalcy later returned to the road after the state CP, SSG and director of DSS and their security agents calmed the situation and assisted motorists in traffic control.
The driver of the Young Shall Grow bus with registration number Lagos AAA 283 XM, Mr. Obika Orakwe, who took the officers round his luxury bus that was riddled with bullet, identified the deceased conductor as Onyekwere.
He narrated that â€œwe left Onitsha around 10:30p.m., and while we are coming, armed robbers attacked us immediately after Benin (Okada). We managed to escape, but we now decided to park somewhere because the shooting was unbearable, that was when we discovered that the conductor of the bus had been killed. The robbers also robbed several vehicles close to where we parked, including Ezenwata bus and other buses while still shooting sporadically.â€
Speaking on the incident, the SSG disclosed that the governor was worried with the situation, adding: â€œWe received the report this morning about the traffic around Okada junction as a result of the armed robber incident. We got in touch with the director of DSS and the commissioner of police. We saw the thousands of stranded passengers and drivers.
On his part, the commissioner of police stated that the police authorities just received the information that morning of the gridlock from Benin to Lagos, and that one person was killed, so they had to contact the area DPO and commanders.