Controversy is trailing the casualty figure in Monday’s clash involving okada riders and Road Transport Employers’ Association of Nigeria members in the Iyana Iba area of Lagos State.
While a transport worker told PUNCH Metro that no fewer than six people lost their lives to the clash, a marshal insisted that four persons were killed in front of the Lagos State University and inward the Alaba Rago area, close to Iyana Iba.
It was gathered that the clash started when the union members allegedly accosted a yet-to-be-identified Hausa motorcyclist and demanded his ticket.
The request reportedly led to an argument between the union members and the motorcyclist, which degenerated into a fight.
It was learnt that the union members allegedly injured the motorcyclist during the scuffle.
Angered by the development, other Hausa motorcyclists regrouped and allegedly attacked the union members in retaliation.
The reprisal, however, escalated into a free-for-all that affected vehicular movement in Iyana Iba and Okokomaiko, among other nearby routes along the Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
In a bid to escape, commuters, passers-by, traders and customers were said to have run helter-skelter.
Speaking to reporters, a campus marshal, who did not want his name mentioned, said the union members and motorcyclists freely used weapons, including guns, cutlasses, sticks and stones, adding that four persons were killed.
He said, “The clash was between the transport union members and Hausa okada riders; they were fighting over daily tickets and it started around 10am. They started fighting around Iyana Iba and it spread to the front of the LASU gate and we heard gunshots. When the Hausa okada riders got to the front of LASU, they started harassing anyone passing and killed four persons.
“The most painful part was that soldiers and OP MESA operatives saw the Hausa okada riders using cutlasses to cut someone and they refused to intervene till the person was killed. I witnessed it live; another person would have been killed, but the security guards at LASU rescued the person and took him to the health centre on the campus.
“The second person, who was killed, was attacked with sticks and cutlasses till he died in front of the university. My friends, who live in Alaba Rago, told me that two other persons were killed in their area. Most people killed were Igbo and Yoruba.
“The okada riders were attacking people in large numbers and after killing them, they took their bodies away with their wheelbarrows. It was when the RRS officials came that things became calm a little bit.”
A transport worker, Bode Aderibigbe, said the clash caused gridlock on the Lagos-Badagry Expressway, adding that six persons allegedly lost their lives.