Tanker drivers protest alleged killing of colleague by Naval personnel

Victor Ahiuma-Young,
Evelyn Usman & Bose Adelaja

17 February 2012, Sweetcrude, LAGOS — Pandemonium broke out, Thursday, along the Apapa/Oshodi expressway, Lagos, following protest by tanker drivers over the alleged killing of one of their own by a Naval personnel.

It could, however, not be ascertained at press time whether the victim alleged to have been shot, was dead, as the protesting drivers blocked the entire expressway depriving motorists passage on the road.

Report said the tanker drivers had blocked the ever-busy expressway for over three days, thereby increasing the already tensed gridlock on the expressway.

For a very long time, the situation has been managed by naval personnel who controlled traffic, thereby allowing flow of traffic in a snail pace.

Eye witnesses said trouble started after several warnings by the personnel to the tanker drivers to evacuate their trucks from the expressway before dusk or station them appropriately to allow free flow of traffic was not heeded to.

Nobody could however tell what led to the brawl that necessitated the shooting of one of the tanker drivers who was left in the pool of his blood till 6.30pm.

Contacted, spokesman for the Western Naval Command, Lieutenant Commander Jerry Omodara said the information was just reaching him, adding that he was making attempt to get details of what actually happened.

He posited however that if the claim was true, then it could have been an accidental discharge. But he was quick to add that such accidental discharge was not acceptable by the Navy as it had trained its men on how to handle firearms. He also stated that the Navy would not shield any of its ratings who committed crime.

He therefore, appealed to members of the public not to take laws into their hands, in order not to rob the Navy of the effort to ensure sanity in the area.

Also contacted, secretary of Petroleum Tankers Driver (PTD) branch of Nigerian Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers, Lagos State chapter, Comrade A.Adebayo, said the union was aware of the incident and was making attempt to control the situation. He however blamed naval personnel over what he described as their over-zealousness and for also taking laws into their hands.

He explained that the tanker drivers blocked the expressway to ascertain whether the victim, a marketer, was dead.

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