The tribunal of inquiry set up by Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, to investigate the 4th July rampage waged upon drivers of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and soldiers held its first sitting on Monday in Lagos.
On 4th July, soldiers in Lagos were reported to have unleashed mayhem on the Palmgroove part of the city, in protest of the death of a fellow soldier who was allegedly hit by the driver of a Bus Rapid Transit (bus).
An eyewitness told SaharaReporters then that after the soldier died, other soldiers took to vandalising BRT buses and harassing their drivers.
“Any BRT bus that they could lay their hands on, they set it on fire. I don’t think the buses they burnt were less than seven. You needed to see the flames that went up in the air,” he said.
“The BRT ticket sellers and their other workers were not spared as well. I’m sure some of them have never been beaten in their lives the way they were beaten this morning.”
The Nigerian Army released a statement to deny that soldiers went on rampage, saying instead that hoodlums were the ones who took advantage of the situation to perpetrate violence.
On 21st July, Fashola inaugurated a three-man tribunal of inquiry to examine the cause of the incident in order to forestall a repeat.
Speaking at the inaugural sitting on Monday, chairman of the tribunal, Justice Ebenezer Adebajo (rtd), promised that the tribunal would not be biased in its work and would rather concentrate on establishing the true position of events.
“On behalf of the tribunal, I give further assurance of our fairness to each and every person or group of persons with special interest in the work of the tribunal”, he said.
“This tribunal has not been constituted to witch-hunt or to arrive at a predetermined conclusion.”
“We implore the general public to have confidence in the work of the tribunal and we appeal to those persons who witnessed the happenings on that day to come forward.”
The committee, which will finish its work by 30th September 2014, will interact with officials LAGBUS, Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), Nigerian Army Lagos Metropolitan Area Transport Authority (LAMATA), the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and so on.