Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
There was pandemonium in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, yesterday when an unidentified cab driver was killed by a petrol tanker after he was allegedly pushed into the road by police operatives manning a checkpoint.
The incident, which occurred around 3rd East Circular Road, by Igun Junction, caused traffic gridlock on the ever-busy Akpakpava Road and all other adjourning roads for several hours, as all the link roads were blocked with bonfires made by angry protesters.
It was learnt that the police stopped the victim, who was said to be with his wife and two children in the car, and demanded N100 from him, which was said to have led to an altercation.
This, it was gathered, made the policeman to push him into the path of the moving petrol tanker, which was said to have smashed the head of the deceased, spilling his brains on the road.
Following the death of the unidentified man, irate youths and drivers gathered and descended on the police operatives, making them to abandon their operational vehicle and flee. One of the policemen was, however, not so lucky, as he was said to have been attacked and pushed into the roadside drainage.
At the time of filing this report, unconfirmed sources had it that one of the policemen was killed and about four Toyota Hilux vans belonging to the police were set ablaze by the irate protesters.
The victim’s car, a black BMW marked AFZ 846HW, and the petrol tanker, with registration number FKJ 567XB were parked at the scene of the incident.
While the angry drivers still carried on with their protest, it was also alleged that a trigger-happy police officer shot a protester at Dawnson Junction. According to a newspaper vendor who witnessed the incident but preferred not to be named, the policeman shot twice at protesters and, before they could rush the victim to St. Philomina Hospital, he was already dead.
The vendor said the corpse was taken away by military personnel deployed to restore peace to the area.
Calls made to the mobile phones of the Edo State Police Commissioner, Mr. Johnson Babatunde Kokumo, and the command’s spokesman, Chidi Nwabuzor, were unanswered.