The Lagos State Government on Wednesday said that the street hawker knocked down at Maryland Bus Stop in Lagos earlier in the day was not hit by a BRT bus.
The state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Steve Ayorinde in a statement said the street hawker was hit by a truck belonging to a soft drink company.
The statement was issued against the backdrop of the destruction of several BRT buses in the area after the incident, following which the buses went off the roads temporarily.
According to Ayorinde, a street hawker who was trying to evade arrest from officials of Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI), attempted to cross the road before being hit by the truck, which was erroneously thought to be a BRT bus.
“As a result, hoodlums, armed with sticks and stones, immediately descended on some BRT buses plying the route as at the time of the incident and in the process destroyed several of the BRT buses.
It wasn’t any of our buses that killed him (hawker), it was a soft drink company truck that unfortunately crushed the boy while he was trying to escape from KAI officers who were on patrol trying to rid the street of street hawkers and traders.
But hoodlums now took advantage of that to start destroying government assets, including several of the brand new BRT buses,” he said.
Ayorinde said it took the intervention of a team from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) to quell the riotous scene caused by the hoodlums before the corpse of the boy was taken to the morgue at the General Hospital, Ikeja.
The Commissioner said that no fewer than three hoodlums alleged to have been part of the mob that destroyed the BRT buses had been arrested, and the law would take its full course.
“The Lagos State Government will like to use this opportunity to further reiterate that it will not relent in ridding the state of illegality, street trading and hawking,” he said.
Ayorinde said that Section 1 of the Lagos State Street Trading and Illegal Market Prohibition Law 2003, restricted street trading and hawking in the metropolis.
He also said that Sections 7 and 8 of the same law gave jurisdiction and power to the Special Court to order the seizure and public auction of items impounded from street traders.
Section 10 of the law, he said, also prescribed a N5000 fine or three months imprisonment upon conviction.
“Street traders are hereby urged to desist from this illegal activity because the government will not be blackmailed and would do that which is necessary.
For the miscreants and hoodlums, the Lagos State Government and the Police Command will not allow any act of civil disobedience.
Those arrested will be dealt with in accordance with the law and further arrests will be made as investigation continues,” he said.