….family demands justice, accuses police, BRT of complicity
The Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) yesterday suspended its operations across Lagos State ostensibly for fear of their vehicles being burnt or vandalised by angry protesters in the state over the death of 22-yearold Ayanwole Oluwabamise, fashion designer whose body was found after boarding a Bus Rapid Transit BRT, heading to Oshodi from Chevron bus stop, Victoria Island.
It was learnt that many Passengers were left stranded at the various Bus Rapid Transit terminals across the state with no bus in sight, while that of Berger and Alausa Secretariat terminals were also deserted as only the security guards were seen stationed at strategic locations in the terminals.
It was also gathered that at Ikorodu BRT terminal there were no buses at the terminal to convey stranded passengers to their various destinations as some passengers were shocked when they got there only to find empty park and security guards at strategic locations. Some passengers who spoke with our correspondent at Berger terminal said it was unfortunate that they got to the terminals only to meet empty garage except commercial buses park at the bus stop.
Sources who confirmed the development told New Telegraph that the government wanted to avert a repeat of the #Endsars protest where hundreds of the buses were set on fire by some suspected hoodlums.
New Telegraph learnt that the state government in a memo, directed operators of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) to suspend their operations indefinitely pending when they consider the atmosphere safe for operations across the state.
In the said memo, it was gathered that government alleged that there were plans by some youths to attack the buses and the driver’s, as part of the exercise to express their displeasure over death of a passenger.
In a memo said to have been sent to all operators through the Ministry of Transportation, the government was said to have told the operators that it could not guarantee 100 percent protection at the moment.
A staff of one of the operators, who confirmed the development to our correspondent, said that the decision was handed down by the state government to them and that they were mandated to adhere strictly. This is even as protests hit the streets in different parts of Lagos over the death of the lady.
As the time of filing this report, there were protests in Ayobo, Ikeja and Ojota over the matter although the Ojota venue, Gani Fawehimmi’s park was later cordoned off by security agents.
Meanwhile, the Ayanwola family is demanding justice for their daughter. Addressing journalists in Lagos yesterday, the family lamented the alleged complicity of the Nigeria Police and Lagos Bus Services Limited LBSL, in the matter.
Also, the deceased elder sister who is an expectant mother is said to have been hospitalised due to the trauma she suffered when information got to her that her younger sister had been recovered dead.
The family also said that Bamise’s friend Omolara who was in touch with her during her journey in the BRT bus is in critical condition as a result of the loss of her blossom friend. The elder brother to the deceased, James Ayanwole, who represented the family at the briefing, said it took a period of ten days before the Nigeria Police could come out to say that the body had been found whereas, it was found the same day she boarded the bus.
“We were tossed to and fro by Lagos Police.” Narrating the ordeal the family went through in the quest of searching for their loved one before her decomposing body was recovered on Ebute-Ero bridge, James said the incident was first reported at Akinpelu Police Station, Maroko and Ikeja, that unfortunately for them, they were tossed to and fro. He said, “our sister graduated from apprenticeship in September 2021, secured a job at Chevron in December, but died in February 2022.
To worsen our plights, the Nigeria Police knew that she died the same day, but kept mute until the media stepped in. “Bamishe engaged in a live conversation with two of her friends after boarding the bus on February 26, if not for this forensic evidence, the case would have been swept under the carpet as it took the Nigeria Police and LBSL over a week to disclose her whereabouts.
“Details available to us revealed that she boarded the bus on Saturday, but when her whereabout was uncertain, we went to report the matter at Akinpelu Police Station, but were told that the incident scene did not fall under their jurisdiction and we were referred to Maroko Division.
Unfortunately, we were left to our fate at Maroko Division and we headed for Area F, Ikeja and other Police stations in search of our missing sister.
“We were having a family meeting last Sunday on the issue of Bamise, when we read on the social media that her lifeless body was found at Ebute-Ero/Carter bridge and we sent delegates to the scene only to discover that it was that of our sister and she was found naked on the bridge, but some good Samaritan covered her up.”
“The driver Nice Andrew alleged that it was a case of an attack but never reported to appropriate authorities and only reported for work two days after. I urge President Muhammadu Buhari and the state governor, Babajide Sanwo- Olu to unravel this matter because it is beyond us. My sister was agile and hardworking before she was cut in her prime,” said the bereaved woman.
The Lead Counsel to the family, Mr. Ayo Ademiluyi enumerated the demands of the family saying, “we have forensic evidence to back our testimony. All arrested persons should be tried in a competent court as soon as possible.
“Others are: arrest of LSBL Managing Director in the next 24 hours, autopsy report and Corona Inquest to be published as soon as possible and that the Nigeria Police track the second mobile number of the deceased which is still in activation. Finally, the right to life should be upheld.
This matter should not be treated like that of Bowen College student, Sylvester Oromoni,” he added.