Concerned Nigerians have been reacting to the gruesome murder of 22-year-old Oluwabamise Ayanola who was declared missing after boarding a Lagos Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, only for her lifeless body to be found at the morgue of the Mainland Hospital, Yaba, Lagos days later.
The deceased, a fashion designer, was said to have boarded the BRT bus with number plate 240257 from Chevron bus stop at Lekki to Oshodi, at about 7p.m., heading to her elder brother’s place at Idimu. But she never got to her destination and could not be reached on her phone until her remains were found.
Fleeing driver of the BRT bus, Andrew Nice was arrested in his hideout at Ososa, Ogun state by the Department of State Services, DSS. He was, thereafter, handed over to the police. He was arrested alongside a man that harboured him.
When Vanguard Metro visited Isale Eko area, opposite Ilu Binrin Estate, where the decomposed body of Oluwabamise was dumped, the majority of the residents denied knowledge of the incident due to fear of any unforeseen aftermath.
Pressed further by the reporter, some dwellers who summoned the courage to talk said that when her body was discovered a day after the incident, some body parts were no longer found. This is contrary to police claims that nothing was missing in her body.
Another resident of the area, Mr Kunle Idowu who spoke with our reporter said that many people saw the lifeless body but walked away due to fear. He said: “Let me correct you, this place is not Ogogoro community, it is Isale Eko. People may call it that name because many people sell Ogogoro here but that is not the name.
“As regards the death of that young lady, it is so unfortunate that people didn’t see it on time. It was the following day before they saw it and I heard that they reported it to council people who later informed the police. When we saw her, she was covered with blood and there was nothing anybody can do again.”
However, the distraught brother-in-law to the deceased, Engr. Johnson Omilana, told Metro on the phone that the driver was lying. “He is lying, all he said were lies. I am happy he ran away the first time because he knows the crime he committed. I believe he had no idea that the lady did some recordings and shared them with her friends while on the bus.
“My surprise is, it was not quite long when we discovered her dead body that we had that the man was arrested and paraded. He confessed that he ran away because he was afraid. The question to ask is, why didn’t he report the incident to the company’s management and the police?
“When I asked the management of BRT if they had knowledge that any of their vehicles were on the road, they said no, all their vehicles were intact and in good condition. When I went there initially, I had only the recording, not the bus number; it was after a while that her senior brother advised I zoomed into the recording to get the bus number and I did and got the number 240257 which I showed to them and they told us to wait that the bus driver will soon arrive.
So, I asked some people to wait while I went to Akinpelu police station to make a statement. When I got back to the terminus, I was told to go to Ajah where he boarded the bus so that I can trace it from that place.
“Surprisingly, the driver showed up in the company’s uniform. For me, justice must prevail because that driver is not telling the truth. Everyone knows that there is nothing hidden again. We have a lawyer on the ground on this case.”
Speaking about the condition of the mother of the deceased, on the deceased mother’s she said, “Her condition is worse. She is in pain. She is already losing her mind. Her situation is not encouraging right now. The late Bamise just graduated last year from her fashion school and started work recently at Ajah. She promised her aged parent’s good life. Her mother is 70 years and the father is 80 years old.
“On that fateful day, she bought children clothes for her elder sister who just put to bed but we didn’t see any of those items. Right now, the environment is tense, filled with tears, pains, anger and agony, the father is trying hard not to break down completely but the mother is totally inconsolable. She was a very good Christian from her home and she was still a virgin.
When Vanguard Metro spoke with more Lagosians about the driver’s account of the circumstances that led to the death of the girl, some indicted the driver and accused him of complicity while others said he was yet to say the truth as regards what transpired.
Mr Adeniyi Ademuyiwa questioned the authenticity of his account alleging that he must have been carrying out such a beastly assignment for long. “This man and his evil colleagues have been doing this for long. I think they were just unfortunate this time that the poor girl made a video and dropped several voice notes before the driver carried his partners in crime.
“If they were aware she left traces, I guess they would have let her go and looked for another victim. The driver went to park the bus, resumed work normally the following day, only to run away when the family members of the girl came to ask for her whereabouts. He wasn’t expecting anybody to have known. It’s very likely he belongs to a ritualistic syndicate.”
In her reaction, Nollywood actress, Toyin Abraham slammed the Lagos State government over the horrific manner Bamise was killed. “It is sad enough that Nigeria is not safe but to think that a place or thing considered as property like BRT is now considered a dangerous place should all get all of us concerned. But I have a few questions for Lagos State Government, why are the BRT buses not fitted with CCTV cameras? she wrote.
“What measure have you put in place since this incident that made you assure Lagosians that the BRT buses are now safe? Are we truly safe or your speech is just government rhetoric, telling us what we want to hear?” She advised Lagosians to be extra careful and observant while sending her condolence to the family of the deceased.
Mrs Habibat Saliu Ibrahim urged the security agencies to obtain the driver’s phone conversation a week before the incident because his confession is questionable as he was supposed to report the case to the police.”
Mr Ofeimum Felix said that the driver is likely to be the head of that syndicate because ritualists will know that you can blow the whistle, so they won’t let you go if you are not part of them. “Why did he run away if he did nothing wrong? You see why I miss super cop (Abba Kyari), by now he would have been confessing both the one he did and the one that he did not.”
Mr. Quadri Issa said that the driver’s confession that the girl was holding on to the pole in the bus before he drove on with the hope that he rescued the girl was a lie, “If truly the criminals were three, one will still be inside the bus until they drag the lady down. So, his lie was not well articulated. He should just explain how they operate and means of apprehending others.”
Mr. Uche Emeka said that if the driver was sincere, he can even create a scene by hitting one of the buses in front of him, “That way, the next driver will block you and demand that you fix his car. That way you can raise alarm when you come down from the bus to look at the level of damages. Oga driver, please tell the truth and confess your ring leader. Your operation is already busted.”
Mrs Tonia Nwajei, a civil servant, said the government of the day has failed Nigerians, especially in the area of the security of lives and property. She said: “In my opinion, boarding a BRT on the way at that hour is wrong especially when it has less than 20 more passengers in it. Secondly, I believe the buses should have cameras in them which I used to see whenever I am standing on the aisle in the bus. Last but not the least; the government of the day has really, really failed every one of us in terms of security. It’s very disturbing especially when you don’t know whose turn it will be tomorrow. I pray God will continue to protect us all in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.”
A businesswoman, Mrs Ngozi Ezechi, said: “Things are getting out of hand in this country. We are no longer safe anywhere. I will advise anyone that wants to board any commercial vehicle – be it BRT, taxi, bus, tricycle, motorcycle or even boat, to be very careful because these kidnappers, ritualists, Yahoo plus guys and the rest of them are all over the place.
“As a Nigerian born and bred in this country, it is obvious that insecurity has reached its peak in the case of the killing of the young lady in BRT. This is a state-owned and managed transport company where CCTV is supposed to be active 24 hours a day, from the terminal and right inside the bus. With these techs intact, hunting down these killers is easy.
To prevent future occurrences, if you remember the year the RRS Police unit was created, almost all parts of Lagos and environs experienced peace and security of lives and property. But the current leadership in Lagos State converted the same RRS to the money-making tool, leaving Lagosians in the hands of hoodlums operating as government officials. If only the Police and other security agencies responsible for the safety of lives and property could be allowed to work independently, I think we will have a new and better experience on the issue of security.,” submitted Mr Emeka Clifford, a businessman.
A senior Medical Representative, Mrs Bridget Okobe stated: “This calls for precautionary measures like installing CCTV cameras in all the BRT buses and proper investigation of drivers before employment. Passengers should follow their instinct and board buses that are filled with enough passengers.”
Mrs Anwuli Ogbonnaya, CEO of Party Party Kitchen said: “It’s so saddening to hear of such an act from a government establishment. It shows the level to which things have fallen apart in our country. Where we are supposed to call home is no longer safe….it’s indeed worrisome.”