Five marshals of Kaduna State Traffic andEnvironmental Law Enforcement Agency (KASTELEA) on Thursday killed an okada rider and a lady passenger riding on KEKE NAPEPin Zaria while the officials were chasinga suspected trafficviolator.
The bodies of the victims whose identities could not be ascertained, were deposited at the mortuary of Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, (ABU) Zaria.
Our correspondent reports that the situation triggered off serious protest by hundreds of okada riders, a development that led to the barricading the main road from Kofar Doka to Zaria City.
An eye witness, Malam Ibrahim Dankani, told our correspondent: “I saw an official going in KASTELEA vehicle on high speed, chasing an okada man along Kofar Doka- Alhudada College Road around10:30 amtoday; the okada man fell down after he wasblocked by a KASTELEA vehicle at a U-turn; the vehicle ran overhim, and he diedinstantly.”
Dankani added: “There was a NAPEP tricycle coming from the opposite direction, it hit the KASTELEA van and a woman passenger it was conveying got injured and later died in hospital.”
Umar Yakubu, a trader aroundYan’ Dussa, close to the scene said“ It’s true that the KASTELEA vehicle killed an okada man and woman butI suspect it was a mistake because the way the KASTELEA vehicle hit the okada the driver certainly did not mean to kill him.”
Yakubu also said: “Soon after the incident happened, hundreds of okada riders started coming to this place where the KASTELEA office is located, threatening to set ablaze the entire building until the police intervened.”
The Zaria branch Chairman of Okada Riders Association, Malam Aliyu Abubakar, later leda protest demonstration tothe Emir’s Palace andlocal government chairman to express theirgrievances.
“KASTELIAmarshals have been killing people in Zaria unnecessarily and making indiscriminate arrests of vehicles; their duty is to arrest vehicles and not to kill people.”
He said the okada riders would not fold their hands and watch their members being killed or harassed. “We are law-abiding citizens and as such, we’ll not engage in any act of violence, but we don’t deserve this treatment,’’ he said.
Speaking after the meeting with the Emir and the Divisional Police Officer, the council chairman, AlhajiAliyu Idris pleaded with the protestants to remain calm and orderly asthe emir, police and his council were working towards resolving the matter peacefully.
“ We have discussed this problem with His Highness and the DPO Zaria, and we have resolved to wait until an investigation into the cause of the deaths is out; I assure you that we shall do justice to you on this matter.”
Commenting, Zaria Divisional Police Officer, Ahmed Yusuf, told the okada riders that“the police have commenced an investigation and as soon as our report is ready, we shall communicate to you; therefore, I am pleading with you to be law-abiding.’’
All efforts to get the reaction of the State Director of KASTELEA failed and none of his officers was in a position to speak on his behalf.