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Lagos Okada rider’s killing

Posted by on 2005/08/04 | Views: 331 |

Lagos Okada rider’s killing


The point-blank shooting of a young commercial motorcyclist, Mr. Peter Eze, by a serving naval officer, Lt. Felix Odunlami, in Lagos, recently, was another sad reminder of the pervasive culture of impunity in the country.

The point-blank shooting of a young commercial motorcyclist, Mr. Peter Eze, by a serving naval officer, Lt. Felix Odunlami, in Lagos, recently, was another sad reminder of the pervasive culture of impunity in the country.

Odunlami reportedly shot Eze in the mouth over a minor accident involving the naval officer’s car and the victim’s motorcycle. Eyewitnesses alleged that the naval officer went on to kill the young man in spite of a plea for mercy for hitting the bumper of his car. The naval officer himself escaped being lynched just by a whisker, as he was lucky to be rescued from the scene by some mobile policemen attached to a nearby bank. The melee that followed the gory incident turned to a burst of outrage by an angry mob of Okada riders, who set the naval officer’s car ablaze, damaged all public property in the vicinity and vandalised the bank where the team of policemen was attached.

The mob’s attempt to forcibly take the naval officer from the Alausa Police Station was, however, rebuffed, but not until a reign of terror by Okada riders had been unleashed on the Alausa neighborhoods. The Lagos State Government threatened to ban commercial motorcyclists from operating in metropolitan areas for their unruly conduct. While the State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu, promised to ensure that justice is done, he took exception to the motorcyclists’ destructive tendency without any restraint.

Naval authorities also claimed that Odunlami was forced to shoot when other motorcyclists formed a mob and attempted to kill him. Defending the Naval officer, the Director of Naval Information, Captain S. Hungiapuko, said that the public should know that “it is only a crazy man that will just shoot another human being without a genuine reason.” The promise by the Naval authorities to court martial the Naval officer, however, offers little or no hope that justice will be done in the mindless killing of Eze. It may just be another cover- up.

Indeed, the ease with which armed personnel take the law into their own hands, particularly in Lagos, has reached an intolerable level in recent times. When they are not unleashing terror on one another, men in uniform have been accused of aiding and abetting armed robbery and smuggling. There is no amount of provocation that can justify a point-blank shooting of a defenceless man in the head, just over a minor traffic accident. Would it not have been more appropriate for the Naval officer to shoot into the air or shoot to demobilise and disperse the mob if, indeed, his life was threatened as the Naval authorities are now claiming?

It is really unfortunate that while investigations are presumably still on, Naval authorities have reached a conclusion on the non-culpability of their officer. Under the rule of law, no individual, no matter how highly placed, is permitted to take laws into his own hands. Regardless of who is involved, it is only a competent court of law that is legally empowered to administer justice. The unfortunate reality in the country is, however, different, as security agents often behave as if they are above the law.

Yet, Okada riders’ breach of public peace at the slightest excuse can no longer be tolerated. They have become a dangerous source of tension in Lagos and a thorn in the flesh of other road users, including innocent pedestrians. The Lagos State Government should keep its promise to streamline the activities of commercial cyclists to ensure that they no longer constitute a menace to other road users. The booming “Okada industry,” with its growing army of underemployed and angry youths, is a social time-bomb if not properly

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Comments (24)

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ur so boring(To, Northern Territory, Australia)says...

have u ever thought the garbage or the toilet might be jealous? Ur so full of shiz- white piece of shiz BET lol. That's where ppl like you belong (toilet garbage etc), ik the truth hurts but dont take it as an insult im just trying to describe you; ik im good at it ty-The truth hurts right. JSYK black ppl aren't nerds were just smarter than you oops Btw BLMM!!!

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ur so boring(To, Northern Territory, Australia)says...

@robloxian

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emilia(Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria)says...

Wow,trying to get across to Ekene jnr he happens to be my old friend,lost his contact.any info would do me good

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Valarie(Nairobi, Kenya)says...

What’s your point?

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robloxian(Bangor, Maine, US)says...

hahahaha u r a wierdo…hehehe

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ur so boring(To, Northern Territory, Australia)says...

have u ever thought the garbage or the toilet might be jealous? Ur so full of shiz- white piece of shiz BET lol. That's where ppl like you belong (toilet garbage etc), ik the truth hurts but dont take it as an insult im just trying to describe you; ik im good at it ty-The truth hurts right. JSYK black ppl aren't nerds were just smarter than you oops Btw BLMM!!!

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robloxian(Bangor, Maine, US)says...

wow so bad.