Five commercial drivers have been shot dead by soldiers at Ilesha-Baruba, Baruten Local Government Area of Kwara in a dispute over N200 bribe.
Quoting sources in the area, the News Agency of Nigeria reports that the incident was triggered off by a driver who refused to pay the usual N200 “booking” bribe to soldiers at a checkpoint they mounted Ilesha-Baruba/Chikanda highway.
The driver reportedly told the soldiers that he had already ‘booked’ earlier in the morning.
But the claim was said to have infuriated the soldiers who subsequently slapped and ordered the driver to do frog jumps.
According to the sources, the vehicle was also seized.
The driver later left the spot and lodged a complaint with officials of the transport union in the area.
NAN learnt that members of the union subsequently followed the driver with the aim of talking to the soldiers on his behalf.
This however allegedly degenerated into unpleasant arguments, leading to the alleged shooting of some drivers with three allegedly dying on the spot and two dying later from gunshot wounds.
One of the sources said that the corpses of the deceased were taken to a morgue in Saki, Oyo state.
He added that some victims with serious wounds were presently receiving medical care at a hospital in Saki while some were taken to native doctors in Kenu village for removal of bullets from their bodies.
When contacted for reaction on the shooting incident, SP Ajayi Okasanmi, the Public Relations Officer of the Police Command in Kwara confirmed the clash between the soldiers and drivers.
Okasanmi, however, said that the command was yet to ascertain the number of casualties, both dead and injured adding that investigation would be carried out to ascertain the true situation.
“The Commissioner of Police has ordered a full-scale investigation into the crisis and we will communicate our findings very soon,” he said.
The police spokesman stated that normalcy had been restored to the area with the deployment of men of the state command.