Commuters and traders around the busy Mosafejo area of Oshodi, Lagos, were on Thursday morning enveloped by fear as hoodlums went on rampage.
It was gathered that the riotous hoodlums who vandalised vehicles, were protesting the presence of soldiers attached to the Ops MESA at the bus park in Oshodi.
According information gathered by TheCaveat.info, the soldiers were in the park to meet the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) chairman following the murder of a non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).
Another account indicated they were in the premises following the snatching of a mobile phone belonging to a woman married to a military officer.
It was learnt that the unnamed Airman was killed on Monday and his body dumped on top of the pedestrian bridge.
Our Correspondent gathered that the deceased soldier who was plain clothed, had boarded an Ikorodu bound vehicle when suddenly a fracas broke out at the park between bus operators and passengers.
He was said to have intervened in the fracas in a bid to restore peace but was killed in the process and his body left atop the bridge till Tuesday when passersby saw and evacuated it to a nearby mortuary.
According to a source, the soldier’s colleagues who were worried about his sudden disappearance made enquiries and discovered his last seen position was at Oshodi.
They were said to have gone to the park on Tuesday and were told a dead man was seen on top of the bridge and evacuated to the mortuary.
“The soldiers then went round nearby morgues and eventually saw him. He was moved to NAF mortuary. So, the authorities asked Ops MESA to go to the park and find out from the chairman what happened that day. They were also directed to find out those responsible for the murder of the Airman.
“But as soon as the area boys saw Ops MESA approaching the park, they became riotous and were shouting that soldiers have come to arrest their chairman. That was what happened,” said a source who pleaded anonymity.
News of soldiers’ takeover soon spread to other parts of Oshodi, forcing traders and commuters to flee.
It was gathered that the chaos led to many vehicles being vandalised while some persons were said to have sustained injuries.
Reacting to the incident, police spokesman, Olumuyiwa Adejobi, said calm has been restored, adding that investigation into the cause of the violence was ongoing.
He said: “The Lagos State Police Command is aware of the conflict that occurred at Capa Park/Mosafejo Oshodi, Lagos, on Thursday May 20, at 7am.
“Normalcy has been restored to the area, as the matter is under investigation. We urge Lagosians to go about their lawful businesses in the area and in the state in general.
“No cause for alarm. The Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, CP Hakeem Odumosu has ordered that intensive patrol in the area.”
But the NAF denied Thursday’s unrest was connected to the murdered Airman, saying unconfirmed reports available to them indicated it was about a wife to a military officer whose phone was snatched.
According to NAF’s Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI), Air Commodore Edward Gabkwet, the Airman was strangled to death on Monday by suspected hoodlums and his murder was unconnected to Thursday morning’s unrest.
He said: “The Airman was killed on Monday and his body was dumped on Oshodi Bridge and was discovered by early morning cleaners who raised alarm and the NAF was duly informed. Thereafter the airman’s corpse was deposited at Yaba hospital.
“Investigation revealed that the Airman was strangled to death by suspected hoodlums.
“However the unrest at Oshodi is not in relation to the Airman’s death. Though not yet confirmed, it was gathered that a lady’s phone was snatched and her husband happens to be military personnel.”
Similarly, the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army which also confirmed there were skirmishes at Oshodi, said investigation was ongoing to determine the cause of the incident.
Spokesman for the Division, Major Olaniyi Osoba said: “The situation is currently under control as commuters are already going about with their normal businesses without any harassment. Investigation is ongoing to determine what caused the unfortunate incident.”