Two motorcycle riders were reported dead and at least seven others injured in an accident on Adeboye Road, Odorasanyin, in the Ijebu Igbo area of Ogun State on Tuesday.
It was gathered that a team of policemen had mounted a checkpoint on the road and were extorting money from motorists when a vehicle was flagged down by the officers.
It was learnt that the two riders were confirmed dead on the spot, while five occupants of the car and two students of De Potter College of Health Technology, Ijebu Igbo, who were on the motorcycles, were critically injured.
A source said the injured were rushed to St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, Ijebu Igbo, before some of them were referred to the Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Ilisan-Remo.
Motorcycle riders in the area were said to have gone on the rampaging as they protested against the deaths.
The men, who were armed with bottles and sticks, allegedly attacked policeman at the Topon Police Station, Ijebu Igbo.
A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the accident happened around 9 am.
She said, “I saw two dead people; they were the okada riders. The five occupants of the car were injured, as some of them lost their limbs and others had bruises. From what I learnt, the driver of the car wanted to beat the police checkpoint because of the money they asked him to pay when he crashed into the motorcycle riders.”
A motorist, who also did not want to be identified, said the policemen at the checkpoint started staying on the road about two weeks ago, adding that they always extorted money from motorists.
“As I speak to you, the colleagues of the dead motorcycle riders are on the rampage. They have blocked the roads and are stopping vehicles from moving. As of the time I left there, they were on their way to attacking Topon Police Station. The riders are angry because the rate of extortion on the road is alarming. As a driver, between Ijebu Ode and Ijebu Igbo, I encounter up to eight checkpoints and pay various sums of money to those policemen.”
The Ogun State Sector Commander of the Federal Road Safety Corps, Clement Oladele, confirmed the crash but said officials of the agency were warned to steer clear due to the violence that erupted.
“There was a crash, but it resulted in a violent mob action and on the advice of the police, the FRSC team stayed away in order not to be affected by the mob action,” he said in a text message to our correspondent.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said the accident had nothing to do with the police, adding that the crash occurred before the checkpoint.
He said, “The vehicle was approaching the police checkpoint when the driver lost control and hit an oncoming motorcycle. The driver of the vehicle sustained some injuries, but he is responding to treatment.
“Some cult members who were angry at how the police had decimated their group were the ones making issues out of nothing.
“The driver is still alive and he can testify that he lost control of the vehicle. The police had nothing to do with it. Some people wanted to use the opportunity to attack policemen because the place is close to where the police were doing stop-and-search. They wanted to protest, but the situation was brought under control. Only the motorcycle rider died. The passenger and driver are responding to treatment.”
The Chief Medical Director of Babcock University Teaching Hospital, Dr Franklin Ani, said he had yet to be briefed on the incident, adding that he could not tell the number of casualties.