Angry youths in Sabon Wuse, Tafa local government, Niger State, yesterday protested the death of 18 passengers allegedly caused by the failure of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to remove a broken down trailer from the road.
The protest caused traffic snarl on the Abuja-Kaduna road for hours.
In retaliation, the youths set ablaze the FRSC office in Sabon Wuse and a Police operational pick-up attached to “Operation Zuma”.
The official car of the Police Area Commander, with registration number, OPZ 01 SUL, was partly torched.
It was gathered that the crisis started at 7:30am when the residents found the burnt passengers in a 18-seater Kaduna-bound night bus from Lagos.
The bus reportedly ran into the broken-down trailer in front of Government Girls’ Secondary School on Kaduna-Abuja Expressway.
A security man in a building near the accident scene said the bus ran into the stationary trailer at 3am and caught fire instantly.
All the occupants were said to have been killed.
The youths said the trailer had been on the spot for over a week, adding that the FRSC should have removed it, since it was near the corps office.
Police and FRSC officials arrived at the scene after the youths’ protest began.
When the FRSC officials sensed danger, they reported ran into their vehicle and sped off, forcing the youths to torch their office and the Police vehicle.
The victims’ bodies were later taken to Suleja General Hospital, because the Musa Yar’adua Hospital in Sabon Wuse has no mortuary.
Efforts to get the FRSC Sector Commander, Tuma Sylvanus Dalok, proved abortive as he had switched off his cell phones. The corps’ office in Sabon Wuse was also deserted.
But the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Mr. Richard Oguche, confirmed that the passengers died, adding that the youths burnt the FRSC office, the trailer and a police vehicle.
Oguche said the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) had arrested “the leader” of the protesters, Abdulrazak Abdulkaseem, and seven others.