Wednesday 3 May 2023

Ogun rep-elect accused of hitting street hawker with car, assaulting woman for intervening

Newly elected member of the House of Representatives for Ado-Odo/Ota Federal constituency in Ogun State, Engr Tunji Akinosi, has allegedly attacked a female activist, Abiodun Thomas, who was making a case for a hawker who had been hit by his car.

But Mr Akinosi has denied the allegation, saying the hawker eventually apologised to him for feigning injury after breaking the side mirror of his vehicle.

Speaking with PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday, the woman activist, Abiodun Thomas, said the incident happened at Onikan in Lagos on Monday.

She said Mr Akinosi’s black Prado SUV had brushed the hawker and knocked him to the ground.

She alleged that the new lawmaker ignored the hawker who was groaning in pain, until Miss Thomas and other passers-by intervened to demand that he take the hawker to the hospital.

But, according to Miss Thomas, the rep-elect, who is the immediate past Commissioner for Forestry in Ogun State, instead engaged her in a fierce argument.

In a video of the incident seen by this reporter, the rep-elect and the activist exchanged abusive words such as “stupid” and “foolish”.

In the short video, Mr Akinosi was seen charging at Thomas who was recording the drama with her phone, saying “Madam, if you do that I am going to injure you.”

Speaking with our reporter, Miss Thomas alleged that Mr Akinosi then snatched her phone and smashed it on the ground.

“When the driver of the Jeep alighted from the car, he was holding a side mirror, which had been detached from the vehicle. Nothing happened to the side mirror, the plastic had been broken. He walked up to the man who was still groaning in pain, and just said ‘sorry, bye bye’.

“While he was about to leave, I said he could not leave. I insisted he must not be allowed to leave. Myself and about two other comrades went to the Jeep and asked the owner to come down from the vehicle and do the needful, either he apologise to the man or takes care of him.

“When he got down from the vehicle, he was justifying the action. He said the guy was pretending so that he would not fix the broken mirror.

“His posture got me upset and I started recording with my phone. I told him if nobody could identify him, I know he is a politician in Ogun State and a rep-elect. I said he is already intoxicated with power within a few months after the election.

“He called me a stupid woman and I also called him a foolish man.

“He told me that he would injure me. He collected my phone from me forcefully and smashed it on the ground. As I am speaking with you, the phone screen is faulty.”

Miss Thomas further said she was dragged away from the scene by her colleagues. “They were afraid of leaving me there with him.”

She said she wanted to take the matter up, but her mother asked her to let go of it.

But Mr Akinosi disputed the narrative of Miss Thomas. “There is no iota of truth in it,” the lawmaker-elect said to our reporter

He said he neither attacked Miss Thomas nor smashed her phone.

“A phone would be smashed, and the owner would not report to the police that is less than 50 metres away (from the scene)?,” Mr Akinosi asked.

“Earlier on Monday 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.

“My driver left the vehicle insisting he must replace the mirror; I was in the car receiving calls.

“Suddenly people came hitting the vehicle, shouting ‘your vehicle broke someone’s leg and you are sitting in the car!’ I came down from the vehicle to ask them if they really saw what happened?

“I told them that as adults, assumptions in situations like that were wrong, I then insisted that we all take the guy to the hospital for verification and if truly he was injured I would take responsibility, otherwise he will pay for the mirror damaged!

“At that point the guy confessed he was not injured and some other onlookers crossed over to tell the true story!

“At no time was any phone snatched or smashed. A phone would be smashed, and the owner would not report to the police that is less than 50meters away?”

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