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BRT:I can identify female soldier who burnt first bus —Witness

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LAGOS—A witness, at the ongoing tribunal of inquiry into the July 4  road  accident and subsequent destruction  of Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, looting and rioting, yesterday, said he could identify the female soldier who set the first BRT bus ablaze.
This came barely a week after another witness, said  it was a female soldier that set the first bus ablaze, an act which led to the burning of other BRT and LAGBUS buses at  Palm Grove area.
Speaking at the sixth day  of the public hearing in Ikeja, Mr. Oluwole Nejo, a driver with National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, owners of the BRT bus that was the first casualty said: “I know the soldiers who burnt our buses. If I see her (the female soldier) today, I will recognize her.”


Nejo, the  driver of burnt bus 254, said: “On that fateful day, I saw several soldiers on the Ikorodu road. Of these large number, three walked towards my bus and attacked us (the passengers and the driver). Of the three soldiers, two were male while the third was a female.
“Immediately they attacked the bus I was driving, the passengers and I ran out of it for safety.
‘’The female soldier was responsible for setting the bus ablaze with a plastic bottle filled with Premium Motor Spirit, PMS (Petrol).
Five BRT buses burnt, 10 vandalised — NURTW
Another witness, Mr. Egharevba Emoron, the Human Resource Manager for the NURTW owned BRT buses, said: “Five of our buses were burnt while 10 were vandalized by the soldiers.”
Emoron who claimed he arrived at the scene some minutes past 8:00 am, explained that three of the buses- numbers 252, 299 and 254, were completely burnt while two- 256 and 257, were partially burnt by the soldiers.
“When I arrived the scene, I met the buses  burning. And I was surprised Policemen at the scene could not do anything to halt the act being perpetrated by the soldiers. Rather than caution the soldiers, they watched as the event unfolded,” he said.
Emoron also said that prior to the July 4 incident and after, they were often assaulted by soldiers whenever there was a road crash involving BRT buses and vehicles owned by soldiers, saying “even if the soldiers were wrong, we were often compelled by the soldiers to repair their vehicles.
“Even last Wednesday, one of our drivers was  beaten by some soldiers who alleged that he damaged their vehicle,” Emoron said.
‘I saw soldiers collecting mobile phones from citizens’
Aside burning of the buses, Emoron said that the military officers took mobile phones from passers-by and owners of private vehicles who tried to capture the development with their mobile phones.
He said: “I saw soldiers taking mobile phones from commuters and smashing them on the ground until they were satisfied that the phones could no longer function.”

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