There was chaos on Wednesday at the Oshodi end of the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, as some aggrieved members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers unleashed mayhem on passersby, motorists and residents.
PUNCH Metro gathered that no fewer than 15 vehicles were vandalised, while scores of residents were injured during the mayhem.
Some passersby, who were caught up in the affray, were reportedly dispossessed of their valuables as hoodlums took advantage of the confusion to perpetrate crime.
Our correspondent learnt that the hoodlums retreated after they were overpowered by security personnel who stormed the area.
The police were said to have shot tear-gas canisters into the crowd of hoodlums, before peace was restored to the area.
A motorist, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the incident happened around 8am.
He explained that the NURTW members were led by one Talo.
He said, “The riot started around 8am. I was on the road when I suddenly saw a large number of boys marching from a shopping complex at Bolade, Oshodi. They had bottles, cutlasses and sticks and were led by Talo.
“They moved down to the railway line, around the bridge area. Suddenly, they started throwing stones and bottles at passersby.
“People started running helter-skelter. They came out and started cutting people with cutlasses. So many people had cuts in their heads and arms. In the confusion, some people fell and sustained injuries.
“The boys used the opportunity to steal money and other valuables from people. It was really terrible.”
A hawker said there was sporadic shooting as well, adding that a young man was seized by the hoodlums and beaten to a pulp.
“If the man survived, it will be a miracle. He was beaten till he was soaked in blood,” she said.
Policemen from the Akinpelu, Makinde and Mosafejo divisions, supported by officials of the Lagos State Rapid Response Squad, were said to have responded to the crisis.
The police team was reportedly led by the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni.
“The police used tear gas to disperse the rioters. The police were all over the place. If not for the cops, the damage would have been more than this,” a hawker, who did not identify himself, said.
The situation was said to have created gridlock as some motorists were forced to take inner roads to their destinations.
It was learnt that residents and traders were asked to raise their hands as they passed the area.
Our correspondent, who visited the area, observed shards of windscreens and splinters of broken bottles on the road.
Armoured Personnel Carriers and police patrol vans were also stationed at different junctions on the expressway.
A lotto agent, Tayo Efunsetan, told PUNCH Metro that the riot was caused by a leadership tussle for the control of a park in Oshodi.
He said, “There are different groups and factions in the NURTW in Oshodi. The group that is fighting now is aggrieved that its members are sidelined in the scheme of things and are not benefiting from the union.”
A resident, John Mayegun, appealed to the government to find a lasting solution to the tussle over the control of parks.
The Chairman of the NURTW, Lagos State, Tajudeen Agbede, confirmed the incident.
He explained that it was an issue within the union leadership and “does not warant any publication.”
He said, “It was just a matter among our members and I have been briefed on it. The police have also intervened and resolved the crisis. We are just about meeting the Commissioner of Police to find the way forward.”
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said two vehicles were damaged while two suspects had been arrested.