BRUTAL MURDER OF BAMISE AYANWOLA: YRC CALLS FOR JUSTICE
The Youth Rights Campaign (YRC) commiserates with the family and friends of Bamise Ayanwola, the 22-year old young woman who went missing on February 26, 2020 after boarding a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Bus from Ajah only to be found dead days later.
From available facts and evidence, it is highly probable that Bamise fell victim to ritual killers or organ harvesters. This is one death too many. We hereby call on the Lagos state government and the Federal government to leave no stone unturned in ensuring justice is done. This must include the arrest and prosecution of everybody associated with her murder and an adequate compensation paid to her family.
Bamise’s brutal murder brings to the fore the absolute lack of security for the lives of average working people and poor masses in Lagos state. Suffice to stress that there are frequent reports of Lagosians going missing while commuting. However in Bamise’s case, her brutal murder happened in one of the buses of the BRT- a flagship transportation scheme initiated by the Lagos state government under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) in 2008 which is touted as the safest and most secure means of commuting in the State. The circumstances surrounding her brutal murder therefore raises question as to whether or not the operational quality and safety standards are not being sacrificed for profit making as Socialists and activists had warned years ago when the PPP agenda was introduced.
We acknowledge the arrest of the bus driver, Andrew Nice; days after public outrage apparently forced the Police to act. While not trying to teach the police their jobs, we however feel that the private operator of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) bus involved in this incident have lots of questions to answer and may be liable for prosecution for criminal negligence.
As far as we are concerned, by now, the operator ought to have been arrested and detained for questioning if the Police are actually serious about investigating this crime. We must remind Nigerians that if it was an Okada that was used to abduct and kill Bamise, both the rider and owner of the motorcycle would be cooling their feet in police detention by now. Likewise, this incident calls to question the effectiveness of the regulator – Lagos State Metropolitan Agency – in the discharge of its duties. That no one has yet been suspended from LAMATA, which is the regulator, shows how unserious the Lagos State government is on this matter despite assurances to the contrary by the Governor.
Now in the light of Bamise’s murder, Lagosians and all visitors to Lagos deserve to know how safe the BRT buses are for commuting since they were handed over to private players to operate and whether or not they have been turned to conduits for ritual killers and organ harvesters to prey on victims. It is not impossible that before Bamise there had been other victims of such a criminal act with BRT buses. Words alone will not be enough. We demand actions now!
To this extent, the YRC hereby demands the suspension of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) scheme for operation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) pending the setting up of an independent and democratically-constituted public probe panel to investigate the regulatory, operational, safety and security lapses that made Bamise’s murder possible, verify and review the quality and safety standards of the entire BRT scheme and make comprehensive recommendations to the government on how to prevent similar tragedy in future. Such a probe panel should be made up of government officials, professional groups like the NBA and NMA, labour unions, community and youth groups. In the meantime, we demand that the running and operation of the BRT fleet be managed by a democratically constituted committee of drivers and workers alongside officials of the Lagos State government Ministry of Transportation pending the conclusion of investigation.