By Bose Adelaja, Esther Onyegbula and Efe Onadjae
Hell was let loose at Age-Mowo area of Badagry in Lagos, yesterday, after a middle-aged bus conductor was lynched by rampaging cattle herders, over the death of a cow, when his commercial bus, around 6.30am, ran into two cows that strayed onto the highway along the ever-busy Lagos/Badagry expressway. One of the cows died in the accident.
The 30-year-old conductor, identified as Ahmed, aka Omoga, was beaten to death in the full glare of some securitymen, including policemen who were on duty around the scene, and a crowd of onlookers.
Further, a police station is also located a few poles from where the irate herders descended on the conductor after his driver fled, and beat him to death.
The incident, which sparked off a pandemonium, degenerated into protest by the people around the scene, incensed by the killing of the conductor, whose body was left lying in the middle of the road.
Eyewitnesses said the driver of a LT Volkswagen commercial bus, with registration number, FKJ 756 XH, was coming from Mile 2, when the cows suddenly strayed onto the expressway.
A bus driver, Olatunji, who spoke to Vanguard Metro at the scene, said the bus driver was coming from Mile 2 when, all of a sudden, two cows rammed into the vehicle.
“As soon as the accident occurred, the herders at Agbo-Malu began to chase the bus. The driver managed to escape unhurt, while the herders caught up with the bus conductor.
“They beat him till he became unconscious. After that, they left him, thinking he was dead, only to pounce on him again when he rose and started moving towards Mowo Police Station, perhaps to seek refuge.”
It was learnt that when the herders noticed that the conductor was going to the station, they ran after him and caught up with him, about five metres to the station, where they eventually lynched him.
However, events took a different dimension when young men and women gathered to avenge the death of the conductor. The youths who were seeking justice refused to allow policemen take remains of the conductor to the mortuary until the Commanding Officer of 243 Recce Battalion Barracks, Colonel M.A. Abba, arrived.
Vanguard Metro learned that the commanding officer appealed to the youths and members of the communities and assured them that justice will be done. He, thereafter, ordered that the corpse of the conductor be taken and deposited at the General Hospital, Badagry.
Lamenting, a food vendor, Sekinat Lateef, lamented that the conductor met his untimely death under such agonizing circumstance in spite of the fact that there were two police checkpoints in the area and many people were there watching while he he was being killed.
“They did not help matters, as the herders attacked and killed the bus conductor. While they were lynching the conductor, he was shouting for help but nobody came to his rescue. If people had helped, he might have survived, but we all watched till they killed him.”
It was gathered that the herders have been living peacefully with natives in Mowo community for over three decades.
Police confirm incident
Confirming the incident, spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, SP Benjamin Hundeyin said a commercial vehicle ran into two cows this morning at Agemowo, Badagry, killing one of the cows.
“Two cows were hit but one died. The two cattle herders attacked someone they mistook for the vehicle conductor, resulting in his death.
“The bus driver and his conductor were the only occupants of the vehicle and they were said to be rushing to Age-Mowo to scout for passengers when the cows strayed onto their bus. Angry residents blocked the highway in protest over the killing.
“The DPO, Morogbo Division, assisted by soldiers from 243 Recce Battalion, Badagry successfully cleared the obstruction. Normalcy has since returned to the area. It is entirely false that the victim was turned back when he sought refuge in the Police station.
“He did not make it off the accident scene, let alone reach the station. Meanwhile, the two herders have been arrested. The investigation is ongoing. Updates will be provided subsequently.”