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Bamise: BRT official testifies in court



An official of the Lagos Bus Services Limited (in charge of the BRT) has testified before a High court in the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, in the murder trial of Andrew Ominikoron on Tuesday.

Mr Ominikoro is accused of raping and murdering a 22-year-old fashion designer, Bamise Ayanwola, in February inside a BRT bus.

He is also accused of raping another passenger, Maryjane Odezelu, on November 25.

Kayode Aluko, a Fleet Operations manager at the Lagos Bus Services Limited, explained how the company employs their drivers.


He said the employment process of BRT drivers is outsourced to a company, Excel Outsourcing, and once the drivers are fully engaged they are sent to a driving school for a test.

“Depending on their commitment and readiness to be engaged after the test, they will pass through induction and during that, the successful ones among them are given the company policy to go through,” he said.

“The company policy contains various infractions and the remedial consequences if you violate them. After going through, they (employees) sign.”

He said the operational administrative department put them on two-week probation before they are finally engaged to pick up the bus and given the company’s uniform.

He said they pick up the bus in their area of residence. He described their shifts as AM (5 a.m-1 p.m) and PM (1 p.m-10 p.m).


He noted that before the buses are driven out of their stations, “the code of the bus is written down, the time you are driving out, the fuel level and also the odometer. And you have been allocated to a specific route.”

He told the court that the suspect joined them in September 2021.

The prosecution lawyer, Babatunde Martins, sought to tender a signed copy of the suspect’s employment document as evidence but it was opposed by the defence lawyer.

Abayomi Omotubora, the defence lawyer, said the evidence sought to be tendered was not specifically listed as part of the evidence to be presented by the prosecution.

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But the judge, after stating a section of the Evidence Act, ruled that the evidence be admitted.


Rape suspect (Andrew Ominikoron) covers face with book

The witness further said that on November 25 and December 29, the driver was allotted bus 271 and was on the PM shift.

On February 26, he was allotted bus 275 and he was on the PM shift. On that day, the witness said the driver drove the 56-seater vehicle out and was allotted the Ajah-Oshodi route.

He said they have different stations within the state. “So, part of the monitoring starts once the driver leaves the station and the bus is confirmed at the station.

“And there is documentation that is done confirming the driver’s arrival at different stations. Part of what we have also is the CCTV camera in some of the buses. And we also have the enforcement unit that monitors our route’s operations.”

Mr Aluko said they never received any complaint against the suspect except on February 28 from the deceased’s relative.


He told the court that the deceased’s relative came along with the bus code – 240257. “And we checked and it corresponds with what we have. It was driven by the suspect. But he was not on duty at the time they came to report.”

“The driver resumed past 2 p.m. And I had instructed him to see me upon arrival. He was asked to wait but he told the officers of his outsourcing company that he wanted to go and eat. But he never returned.”

Mr Aluko also said that the deceased’s elder brother showed him a voice note and a video. “It displayed my bus code – 240257, and the other voice note of the two ladies.

“And in that conversation, there was an expression of fear from the lady inside the bus to the other friend. This was on a Monday and the incident occurred on Saturday. I said I will do whatever I can to help them.

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“Immediately he left, I went to our outsourcing company and picked up the captain of the bus…we arranged for a manhunt that night. I took my car with about four other personnel to Ogolonto, Ikorodu (the suspect’s residence),” but could not find him.


Mr Aluko said they tried his known telephone number several times but he didn’t respond. But he would later call that he was in the hospital.

Alleged rape

Earlier in the hearing, the alleged rape victim, who had testified on Monday, was cross-examined by Mr Omotubora.

The sales representative said she had only started working in the Ajah area two months before the incident.

“How long have you been in Lagos?” The lawyer asked.

2014, she responded.


Lawyer: You are very conversant with the operation of BRT?

Witness: No. I did not enter the BRT bus, that night was my first day.

Lawyer: You would also agree with me that the BRT buses do not operate like the Danfo?

Witness: I don’t know that one. I normally see them on the road.

Lawyer: But you know that BRT has their designated bus stops?


Witness: I don’t know.

Lawyer: Are you saying that you have been since 2014, you have not seen BRT buses loading point since 2014?

Witness: The only place that I normally see BRT is at Ajah.

Andrew Ominikoron escorted by prison officials after the hearing

Lawyer: Do you know that the Alex hotel bus stop is not the designated bus stop?

Witness: Yes, but they normally pick passengers there.


The witness explained that she never knew that BRT buses use cards. Neither was she aware that every cash payment comes with a receipt.

She said she boarded the bus around 8 p.m. and had never met the driver until that night.

She noted that the suspect parked around Lekki Conservation and raped her. She said the area was dark at the time.

“You said that the driver attacked you and dragged you?” the lawyer asked.

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“After he ended the call, I noticed that my life was in danger and his manhood had risen. I brought my big phone. That was when he locked the door and the light went off and he dragged me to the back seat,” the witness said.


“While this was going on, you didn’t raise any alarm?” The lawyer asked.

“He held my neck and raised a knife, how do I raise an alarm?” The witness questioned.

“Please, tell the court how you were dressed?

“I dressed normally. I wore that gown with my tummy belt.

The lawyer brought out the gown. “This cloth is just a blouse,” he told the court.


But the witness insisted that it was a gown.

“I didn’t wear the gown with any trousers because it almost touched my knee,” she added.

“I want to make an application that the court directs the witness to wear these clothes,” the lawyer requested.

But the judge frowned at his request. “No. Why should I ask her to wear it in the courtroom?” She asked.

“I will apply for that, my lord,” the lawyer replied.


The witness said she gave her account number and phone number to the driver when he requested because he refused to let her go.

“And you received the money with thanks and gratitude. Yes or no?

“I said thanks to him because I wanted him to free me,” she responded.

She, however, said she discussed the incident with her male friend.

The defence lawyer accused the witness of promiscuity using “indecent language” but the judge cautioned him against such a word in questioning the witness.


The witness continued that the money sent to her by the suspect was withdrawn and given to some beggars in Ajah.

The next hearing of the matter is fixed for June 1, 7, and 9.

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Police bust insurgents’ camp in Anambra, recover vehicles



The Anambra State Joint Security Force has busted an insurgents’ camp in Achalla, the headquarters of Awka North Local Government Area of state.

The operation ordered by the Commissioner of Police in Anambra, CP Aderemi Adeoye, took the insurgents by surprise as they fled with gunshot wounds leaving trails of blood.

This was disclosed in a statement issued by the state police spokesman, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, on Tuesday.

Ikenga said the insurgents had disrupted trading at the Achalla Market last week Monday, forcing traders to observe the sit-at-home order.


He said, “This drew the attention of the security apparatus in the state which made the state police command to decide on giving them a taste of their own medicine in the early hours of Monday, February 19, 2024.

“The operation which was hugely successful led to the recovery of five exotic vehicles previously snatched at gunpoint. Also recovered were over 300 rounds of machine gun ammunition and 34 rounds of 7.62mm ammunition for Ak-47 rifle.”

According to Ikenga, all operatives from various services have returned safely to their bases.

“The Commissioner of Police has directed that owners of the recovered vehicles be contacted to come forward with proof of ownership and collect their vehicles.

“A manhunt for the fleeing insurgents will be extended to hospitals and clinics with a view to ensuring they are brought to justice after receiving adequate treatment,” he added.


The Anambra State CP had in January 2024 disclosed that about 30 suspects, including kidnappers, armed robbers, cultists and hoodlums who were terrorising the state in recent times had been arrested.

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Also, on February 12, 2024, the command said two AK-47 rifles stolen from two police formations were also recovered.

The command said one of the rifles was stolen from Zone 13 Headquarters, Ukpo, during an attack by gunmen in 2021, while the second rifle was stolen from the Area Command Headquarters, Ogidi, Idemili Local Government Area, early last year when the formation was attacked by some insurgents.

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Police nab manager, invite doctor over Rivers graduate’s death



The Rivers State Police Command has confirmed the arrest of the manager of Paragon Clinics and Imaging Diagnosis, a private health facility located along Stadium Road in Port Harcourt.

The police said the arrest was part of the investigations following the report of the death of a first class graduate of Microbiology from Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, Edo State, identified as Rebekah Tamunotorukubu Sekidika at the hospital.

The deceased’s father, said to be an employee of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas in Port Harcourt,

Sampson Sekidika, had told Press that his daughter died during a procedure at the hospital on February 2, 2024.


Sekidika alleged that negligence and incompetence of those who performed the procedure on his 24-year-old daughter which he said did not require a surgery led to her death and called for justice.

While noting that he personally drove Rebekah to the facility on the said day, he insisted that she was healthy and without any medical condition, but needed to carry out a test following delayed menstruation before embarking on a foreign trip.

The spokesperson for the state police command, Grace Iringe-Koko, confirmed the arrest of the manager to our correspondent on Sunday.

Iringe-Koko expressed dismay that an earlier invitation by the police for the doctor and the person who administered the anaesthetic was not honoured.

She stated, “Yes, I can confirm that the manager has been arrested. And we have also invited the doctor and one other person as part of our investigations.

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“The matter has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department for proper investigation.”

The PPRO further said two others who were also arrested had been released because their duties at the facility had no direct link with the incident.

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15 trucks of smuggled foods intercepted in Sokoto – Customs



The Nigeria Customs Service, on Sunday, declared that it had intercepted 15 trailers that were fully loaded with food items and were heading out of the country through the Sokoto State border.

It said the trailers were stopped and the food items were returned to Nigeria, adding that this was part of measures to stabilise the prices of food items across the country in line with the mandate of the Federal Government.

On Friday, The Press reported that the Federal Government had set up a committee comprising the National Security Adviser, the Director-General of the Department of State Services, and the Inspector-General of Police to clamp down on traders hoarding grains.

The report also stated that the government had ruled out the importation of food as part of strategies to address the high costs of foodstuffs and the economic hardship troubling the country.


It stated that this formed part of the resolutions reached at Thursday’s emergency meeting between President Bola Tinubu, Vice President Kashim Shettima, and state governors at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja.

When contacted by our correspondent on Sunday to confirm whether the service had clamped down on food hoarders or those trying to move food out of Nigeria, the National Public Relations Officer, who is a Chief Superintendent of Customs, Abdullahi Maiwada, stated that interceptions had been made.

He said, “Some items were brought back at Sokoto, but I don’t have the details of the grains or the food items in question. These are some of the areas being worked on to avert such movement of food items out of the country.

“So there are interceptions, but I don’t have the actual record of that. However, this time around, our interceptions are not aimed at seizing the food items, rather to send them back and to be consumed locally so that the prices of food items will stabilise.

“I think we are going to issue a more detailed statement about this tomorrow (Monday) on what we are doing based on our own core mandate and how we can also contribute to the stability of food prices, among other things.”


When probed further to speak on the quantity of items intercepted, Maiwada replied, “There were in very large quantities, I think about five trailers or so. I don’t have the exact records, but I’m sure there were interceptions.”

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Recall that while assessing the government’s action to tackle the hardship in the country, the All Farmers Association of Nigeria and the organised private had supported the decision of the President and the governors not to adopt importation as a solution to the biting food crisis facing the nation.

They also backed the planned action against hoarders as the Nigeria Customs Service vowed to stop smuggling of food out of the country.

The prices of staples have gone up in recent times with the National Bureau of Statistics listing the 2023 December food inflation at 33.93 percent, up from 23.75 percent in December 2022.

Reports say the prices of staples like rice, beans, oils, plantain, grains, fish, poultry, and meat have surged by 50 per cent and this has triggered protests against the harsh development across the country.


Data obtained from the consumer price index reports by the NBS indicated Nigeria spent N1.47tn on importing food and beverages in the first six months of 2023.

AFAN President, Kabir Ibrahim, had told our correspondent that the decision of the government to order food producers to release their products to the market would help check the continued rise in the prices of food items.

“I encourage the security agencies to move in with some other government officials and ask people to open their stores to sell what they have at the prevailing prices. The commodities should be sold at the prevailing prices.

“Nobody is asking them to bring down their prices, for once they sell at the prevailing prices they will not lose anything. But hoarding is not allowed anywhere in the world. You cannot keep what is needed and make them scarce.

“So the government should move in and do all it could to address this situation in Nigeria now. The prices of commodities are rising and the government has to wade in to tackle this issue, and it has our support on this,” he stated.


N5tn revenue target

The NCS also announced on Sunday that the Senate had approved the sum of N5.079tn as a revenue target and N706.4bn as budget for the service in the 2024 fiscal year.

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It said the approval followed consideration of a report presentation by the Committee Chairman on Customs, Excise, and Tariff, Jibrin Isah, at the recent plenary with the lawmakers, according to a statement issued by the NCS in Abuja.

Addressing the plenary, Isah highlighted personnel costs at N225.99bn and overhead costs at N111.76bn, representing 31.99 and 15.82 percent of the budget.

It quoted Isah as saying, “Also, ongoing capital projects stood at N148.42bn while new projects, which represented 52.19 percent, were earmarked for N220.26bn.”


Providing a breakdown of the budget, he added that the timely rollout of the 2024 fiscal policy would enable the service to commence implementation promptly.

He said, “As part of Customs strategy, the provision of the flexible window will help curb illegally imported vehicles and ensure the proper collection of expected import duties and 25 percent penalty charge from such categories of transactions.

“Mechanisms such as systems audit, real-time auditing, post clearance auditing, institution of revenue recovery committee and other intelligence gathering tools will ensure an intensive revenue recovery drive.”

The revised penalties and charges in the new Nigeria Customs Service Act, 2023, he noted, would improve the service’s revenue generation.

In the aspect of anti-smuggling and cargo tracking, the committee chairman stated that the service was looking forward to collaboration with the Shippers Council and other relevant government agencies to decongest and achieve efficient, effective port operations, which would yield more revenue.


“As provided within the confines of Customs law, all required operational guides will be utilised to ensure that illicit trade that creates a sphere for revenue leakages, as well as economic sabotage, are reduced to the barest minimum,” he stated.

In another development, the NCS also announced on Sunday that its Comptroller-General, Bashir Adeniyi, had conveyed a steering committee meeting to consolidate the gains achieved in the implementation organisation’s Trade Modernisation Project aimed at enhancing trade facilitation.

At the meeting with members of the TMP Steering Committee, Adeniyi disclosed that the project was geared towards the end-to-end automation of the processes and procedures of the NCS.

He said the Trade Modernisation Project encompassed the Unified Customs Management System, Trade Portal, and Cargo Release System, alongside automation services such as Big Data & AI Integration and Document Management System, as well as Transition & Handbook, covering technology upgrades and enhanced capacity building.

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He noted that the project “sets the stage for adapting to evolving market dynamics in trade, optimising operations and procedures and creating new pathways to unlock revenue streams.”


The Controller, Border Drilling, NCS Zone 4, Sokoto, Controller Kolapo Oladeji, said the Nigerian Customs had resolved to use all legal means to ensure no foodstuffs was smuggled out of the country through any of it’s land borders.

Speaking while parading some pharmaceutical drugs allegedly smuggled into the country by the smugglers at the Customs Sokoto command office on Thursday, he described the activities of the smugglers as unpatriotic and against the development of the country.

He said the Nigerian Customs was fully committed to ensuring safety environment for residents as well as ensuring adequate food supplies to the populace.

He said, “We have been mandated by the Comptroller General of Customs to ensure that no food is allowed to be snuggled out of the country henceforth.

“My team in Zone 4, comprising Northwest states have been empowered through manpower and other equipments to ensure that the task ahead of us is tackled judiciously.


“It is an act of wickedness when our government invests and encourages more persons into farming, and some elements within the country now prefer to smuggle such foodstuffs to the neighboring countries.

“It has to be stopped and I want to assure residents of the state that we are fully ready and prepared to stop such activities henceforth”

Confirming the arrest, the spokesman of the command, Abdullahi Tsafe Abubakar, said the trucks were intercepted along Gwadabawa – Illela road.

He however said the command was investigating the situation so as to ascertain its destination.

“The trucks were intercepted along Gwadabawa – Illela road on Friday, and due to the volume of the grains, the command has commenced investigation into the circumstances to know the destination of the grains.


“I am sure you know that there is total ban on smuggling of foodstuffs from the country to outside, but in this case, we need to investigate so as to ascertain the circumstances behind the development.

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