Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
What could have been a bloody clash was averted, on Wednesday, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, as residents of Iyana Gbangba area of the city, were prepared for a showdown with officials of a commercial motorcyclists union, over the death of a bricklayer identified as, Ibrahim Raji.
Trouble, according to a source who witnessed the incident, started around 7.30a.m in the area, when a ticketing official with the Okada union, allegedly hit and killed the bricklayer with a charmed ring.
The suspect, simply identified as Sempe, was said to have attacked the victim for failing to pay the sum of N400 daily levy by commercial motorcyclists.
Apparently angered by the killing, some residents and commercial motorcyclists in the area, immediately mobilised to avenge the death of Raji, but the suspect was hurriedly whisked away by the police.
The mob, which later trooped to the streets, demanding the immediate scrapping of ticketing at parks and other places, thereafter, stormed the Ibara Police Station, Abeokuta, where the suspect was detained by policemen following his arrest.
It was learnt that the deceased bricklayer was survived by four children, a wife and a mother.
His remains had been deposited at the mortuary of Federal Medical Centre (FMC), Idi-Aba, Abeokuta.
Meanwhile, when our correspondent visited the Ibara police station, scores of protesters were sighted demanding severe punishment for the suspect and calling for an end to ticketing, which they described as “exploitation.”
Narrating the incident further to our correspondent, Emmanuel Dosunmu, who claimed to be the apprentice of the late bricklayer, explained that the deceased was not sick before the incident.
According to Emmanuel, they were both billed to meet at Iyana Gbangba in the morning and proceed to a building project site.
“The deceased was my boss. He called me yesterday (Tuesday) and asked me to meet him this morning at Iyana Gbangba for a project. I was going to the place when I got information about the incident.
“What happened was that he had an argument with the ticketing official who was demanding N400 ticket from him. My boss said he was not an Okada rider and will never pay such money. In the process, the tout punched him in the chest with a charmed ring.
“He fainted afterwards. The ticketing official and his colleagues at the scene said he (Ibrahim) was only pretending. But it was the TRACE (Traffic Compliance and Enforcement Corps) officers at the scene that rushed him to the hospital where doctors confirmed him dead,” he stated.
Meanwhile, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, could not be reached for comments on the matter as at the time of filing this report.