WARRI â€” SIX market women were killed in the early hours of yesterday at Effurun, Delta State, by a trailer suspected to be ladenÂ with stolen crude oil, while a mob partly razed the Ebrumede Police Station in a spur-of-the-moment reaction to the unpleasant incident.
As at 9.00am yesterday, a Nigeria Army Armoured Personnel Carrier, APC, was stationed at the Ebrumede Police Station to stop further attack.
Vanguard counted at least six vehicles with their windscreens smashed at the police station while the office of the Officer-in-charge of the station was torched.
The accident occurred around 5.00 am at the Delta Steel Company, DSC, junction, along the Ughelli-Patani Road and up till 10.00am yesterday, the section of the road leading to Warri was cordoned off by a joint team of the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, army and other security agents to clean up the spilled crude oil on the road to avoid fresh accident.
The anger of the mob was that the trailer with Gombe number plate, XE 399 GME would not have sent the victims to their untimely graves if the policemen had not stopped the Toyota Hiace bus with a Lagos number plate, AA 49 FST, in which the victims were traveling, to purportedly collect a bribe.
The Police Area Commander, Warri, Assistant Commissioner of Police Shaba Alkali and the Divisional Police Officer, DPO, Ekpan Police Station, Ekpan, who also oversees the Ebrumede Police Station, Superintendent Mohammed Muazu, however, denied any complicity on the part ofÂ the police in the matter in an interview with Vanguard, yesterday, saying the tanker driver drove dangerously.
Alkali pointed out, nevertheless, that the cause of the accident was still under investigation and both officers noted that a woman was killed under a similar circumstance at the same spot, last Friday, when a truck, belonging to a brewing company rammed into the bus she was travelling in.
He explained that the policemen at the station were armed when the crowd stormed the place but because they did not want to add to the number of casualties, they restrained themselves from firing at them.
The corpses of the victims were removed by men of the FRSC, led by the Unit Commander, Warri, Olusola Olusegun who led his men to the place.
Chairman of the Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, CDHR, in the state, Oghenjabor Ikimi, in his reaction condemned the â€œbrutal killing of six innocent Nigerians who were occupants of a commercial bus at a police checkpoint by the DSC roundabout, Ebrumede,, Delta State, arising from an accident caused by policemen who were chasing tanker whose driver allegedly lost control and rammed into the bus at the said checkpoint.
â€œWe (CDHR) make bold to state that the aforementioned actions of the said policemen is not only barbaric but reckless and we call on the Delta State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Yakubu Alkali to order the arrest and eventual prosecution of all the policemen involved in the dastardly actâ€, he stated.
Uduaghan commiserates with families of bereaved
Meantime, the State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has commiserated with the families of six palm oil traders who lost their lives in the accident.
Uduaghan who frowned at the razing of a police station near the scene of the incident, vowed that those responsible for the accident and the razing of the Ebrumede Police Post would be fished out and brought to book.
The governorsaid: â€œMy heart goes out to the families of these women who lost their lives in this most unfortunate way. I pray the good Lord to grant them the strength to bear this loss.â€
On the razing of the police station, the governor said: â€œIt is erratic. People should not take laws into their hands; you cannot just come and burn a police station that was donated by a community because you are upset. It is not right and I do not think the community would be happy that the station has been burnt.”