A member-elect of the House of Representatives from Ado-Odo/Ota Federal Constituency of Ogun State, Olatunji Akinosi, has been accused of knocking down a bottled water traffic hawker with his vehicle near Onikan Stadium in Lagos and violently attacking a witness for recording the incident with her phone.
According to Peoples Gazette, a witness, Olamide Thomas, said the hawker of Hausa extraction fell after Akinosi’s black Prado SUV hit him on Monday afternoon, about 50 metres away from Onikan Stadium, opposite Zone 2.
Thomas said she rushed to help the young seller and watched Akinosi’s driver come out of the car to tell the victim a flippant “sorry.” She explained the driver inspected the vehicle for damages and noticed that the stand connecting the side mirror to the car was broken but the mirror was intact.
Akinosi, the immediate past Ogun State Commissioner for Forestry, wanted to enter the car and continue driving without paying any further attention to the injured seller groaning in pain when Ms Thomas and other bystanders refused to let him go. They asked him to properly apologise to the seller.
The witness said she had no idea the black Prado Jeep whose number plate was covered belonged to Akinosi.
The ruckus outside the car got the attention of Akinosi who then alighted from the car and accused the hawker of pretending to be in pain. He insisted all was well with the seller.
“You guys were not even here, that’s why I said he (hawker) is pretending,” Mr Akinosi told the people present at the scene in the footage seen by The Gazette.
He got into a heated exchange of words with the witness who accused him of not empathising with the seller. They both hurled insults at each other.
But when he noticed Ms Thomas recording him, he advanced towards her and attempted to snatch the phone as the witness resisted.
“If you do that, I’m going to injure you,” Mr Akinosi threatened just before the footage got disrupted. The noise in the background indicated there was a struggle.
But the witness claimed her phone was smashed by the House of Reps-elect and that black ink immediately obscured half of her phone screen.
Peoples Gazette reported that, Akinosi, when contacted denied smashing the witness’ phone.
He said, “At no time was any phone snatched or smashed!” The commissioner said. “A phone would be smashed and the owner would not report to the police that is less than 50meters away?”
He said the hawker was the one who hit his side mirror while trying to outrun other sellers to sell his wares and feigned injury to avoid being asked to pay for the damage.
“Yesterday afternoon at onikan, an individual hawking drinks in a bid to outrun his fellow hawkers to sell drinks to people in a bus in front of my vehicle hit the side mirror of my vehicle and the mirror fell down, the guy, coming to realization of what happened quickly sat on the floor feigning injury,” Akinosi said.
He said he offered to take the hawker to the hospital to confirm whether he indeed sustained any injury or not.
“I then insisted that we all take the guy to the hospital for verification and if truly he was injured I will take responsibility otherwise he will pay for the mirror damaged!” Akinosi told The Gazette.
But Ms Thomas said Akinosi was “behaving irrationally” and that he lacked the decency to properly apologise to the injured seller or even take him to a hospital for check up.