The police have arraigned eight men, including four teenagers, before an Ebute-Meta Magistrate’s Court for allegedly vandalizing 48 BRT buses during a protest. The cost of repairs of the vandalized vehicles was estimated at N139m.
The PUNCH had reported that a 22-year-old hawker, John Nnamdi, had been crushed to death at the Maryland end of the Ikorodu Road on June 29. The Ebonyi State indigene was said to be fleeing from officials of the Kick Against Indiscipline, the enforcement agency of the Lagos State Ministry of Environment, who were conducting a raid in the area. A mob was alleged to have blocked the road and vandalized all BRT vehicles passing the road after the KAI officials fled the scene of the incident.
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The Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, had decried the incident and ordered a ban on street trading. Ambode had also called for the arrest and prosecution of culprits. Our correspondent was told that eight suspects were arrested by the police and transferred to the State Department of Criminal Investigations, Yaba.
The suspects — Agu Israel (18), Idike Sylvester (23), Babizua Nwode (31), Ropo Babatunde (19), Anashi Philip (26), Ezekiel Ebonyi (21), Friday Nweze (19) and John Kalu (17) — were arraigned on Tuesday on three counts of willful damage and conduct likely to cause breach of the public peace.
The charge sheet listed the number plates of the 48 damaged vehicles.
It read in part, “That you, Agu Israel, Idike Sylvester, Babizua Nwode, Ropo Babatunde, Anashi Philip, Ezekiel Ebonyi, Friday Nweze, John Kalu and others at large, on June 29 2016, at about 2.30pm on Ikorodu Road, Anthony Bus stop, Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did wilfully and unlawfully damaged 48 BRT buses, property of Primero Transport Services Limited.”
The police prosecutor, Sergeant Mariam Dauda, said the offences were punishable under sections 409, 349 and 166 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges and elected summary trial.
The Magistrate, O.O. A. Fowowe-Erusiafe, admitted them to bail in the sum of N1m each with two responsible sureties each in like sum, adding that one of the sureties must be a relation of the defendants.
The case was adjourned till August 17, 2016.