GUO Transport Company has confirmed that a driver of one of its buses shuttling passengers from Lagos to Abuja was killed in an alleged attack by some suspected gunmen along the Ikare-Akoko Road of the Akure Expressway on Friday.
The management of the transport firm, in a statement posted on its official Facebook page on Sunday, added that other passengers, except a three-year-old child, were allegedly kidnapped along the corridor.
A senator, Ned Nwoko, had earlier shared the news of the alleged attack on the GUO bus on Saturday via his verified X handle, @Prince_NedNwoko, saying that the hoodlums abducted all the passengers but left an infant inside the vehicle.
Though the senator failed to mention the location of the attack, he emphasised the need for the government to allow its citizens to bear arms for self-protection.
The senator wrote, “This was reported to have happened to GUO yesterday. They killed the driver, left the small girl there, and kidnapped all the passengers. This is the reason for the law on self-defence.
“If the driver had a gun or any of the passengers, the kidnappers wouldn’t certainly have their way. The only thing they have that good and law-abiding citizens don’t have are guns. The passengers might never be rescued, and just imagine the poor little girl who will be traumatised for life.”
Also, in a short WhatsApp video seen by PUNCH Metro on Sunday, a voice was heard saying, “This bus is coming from Lagos. We stopped together at Akure and ate.”
While confirming the attack on Sunday, the statement by the company read, “GUO Transport Co. wishes to use this medium to confirm that there was a bandit attack on one of our buses en route to Abuja from Lagos.
“The unfortunate incident occurred at about 3:15 pm on Friday, February 9, 2024. Along the Ikare-Akoko area of the Akure Expressway, the kidnappers ambushed and attacked oncoming vehicles, among which was one of the Hiace buses from Lagos with passengers onboard.
“This unfortunate event led to the death of our driver at the crime scene, while our passengers are believed to have been held hostage and led into the bush. A child of about three years old was rescued from the scene and handed over to the military personnel on the ground while the family has been contacted.
“Our prayers are with those directly or indirectly affected by this unfortunate incident.
“While we empathise with the families of our slain driver and the families of our kidnapped passengers, we are cooperating with security agencies to ensure a quick and sore release or rescue of our passengers.
“We appreciate the prayers, advice, understanding, and support of the security agencies, our staff, our passengers, and the public at this critical moment.
“We also appeal to the government and security agencies to intensify efforts to make our highways safe again.”
All efforts to reach the Force Public Relations Officer proved abortive as he neither picked up his call nor responded to a text message sent to his mobile phone.
This is the second attack on a commercial transport company bus within two weeks. A few days ago, it was widely reported that passengers travelling in two buses from the South-East part of the country to Abuja had been kidnapped on the Inele-Eteke Ogugu new road in the Kogi East senatorial district of Kogi State.
The buses said to belong to the God Is Good and ABC Transport companies, heading to Abuja, were abducted by kidnappers on Saturday.
However, the Kogi State Police Public Relations Officer, SP William Ovye, reportedly confirmed their release, saying, “I have just been informed by the DPO that all the kidnapped victims of God Is Good Motors, and ABC have regained their freedom.”
Meanwhile, mixed reactions have begun to trail the call by Nwoko for Nigerians to be allowed to bear arms for self-defence.
While some Nigerians on X supported the idea, others opined that the country was yet to attain that level and thereby urged the government to wake up to its responsibilities.
An X user, @francis_ranco, wrote, “You are right on this, Oga. Self-defense is the most effective way of preserving oneself. Nigerians must be allowed to defend themselves. If the government fails to adhere to this, dem go explain tire later!”
@flourish007 wrote, “I agree with you here, Mr. Senator, because one of the main reasons citizens should be allowed to carry firearms for self-defense is the fundamental right to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm.
In situations like this one where law enforcement isn’t available, individuals, including the driver and passengers, should have the means to defend themselves from potential threats.”
@lord_OboteAyo, on the other hand, said, “A country where small anger leads to chaos, e.g., road rage, some people committing crime at will, and you want to legalize firearms, you want to encourage more armed chaos? What happened to better security?”
@holardamolar said, “We need a working government, not guns.”How do you not see it? People are suffering heavily, and it’s inevitably skyrocketing the rate of social vices out there. Giving guns to the current Nigerians will only worsen the situation; the death rate will skyrocket, I promise you.”