Protest in Ondo over killing of man by bul­lion van

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Peter Dada, Akure

Some youths in Akure, the Ondo State cap­i­tal, on Fri­day staged a protest against the killing of one Ibikunle Alonge, crushed to death by a bul­lion van be­long­ing to a com­mer­cial bank in the town.

Alonge was knocked along Ondo Road, at Fanibi Area of Akure, on Thurs­day. It was al­leged that the bul­lion van and the po­lice es­corts aban­doned the corpse of the de­ceased on the road and drove away.

The youths started the protest at Oshinle Area, chant­ing var­i­ous sol­i­dar­ity songs, and headed to the palace of the Deji of Akure, Oba Aladelusi Aladetoy­inbo, to ex­press their dis­plea­sure over the in­ci­dent.

They urged the po­lice to re­veal the iden­tity of the driver of the bul­lion van.

Ad­dress­ing the pro­test­ers, the Chief of staff to the monarch, Chief Toyin Aladetoy­inbo, ap­pealed to the youth not to take law into their hands, say­ing the palace would en­sure po­lice got to the root of the mat­ter.

A brother of the de­ceased, Mr Se­gun Mar­cel, who de­scribed the in­ci­dent as un­for­tu­nate, called on the state po­lice com­mand to launch a man­hunt for the hi­tand-run bul­lion van driver.

He said, “This is sad. When the in­ci­dent hap­pened yes­ter­day (Thurs­day), it took the po­lice over three hours to come over to the hos­pi­tal and they could not tell us the bank the bul­lion van be­longs to. We are de­mand­ing jus­tice and they should en­sure jus­tice is done on the in­ci­dent.”

One of the friends of the de­ceased, Michael Lawrence, said the driver of the bul­lion van left its lane to hit Alonge.

He said, “When the bul­lion was com­ing, he tried to move aside but they just hit him be­side the road. Bul­lion van driv­ers are reck­less on the road; the gov­ern­ment should put a check on this and we want jus­tice to be done on this mat­ter.”

When con­tacted, the Po­lice Pub­lic Re­la­tions Officer in the state, Mr Femi Joseph, con­firmed the in­ci­dent, say­ing the com­mand had be­gun in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the mat­ter.

“We have yet to get the iden­tity of the bul­lion van but we are on it. We have com­menced our in­ves­ti­ga­tion.” the PPRO stated.

Osaka’s Itami air­port is set­ting up a toi­let area for trav­el­ling dogs, com­plete with a pole for them to cock a leg on. The toi­let, in a fenced-off yard out­side the ter­mi­nal, will also have a shower and wa­ter bowls, op­er­a­tor Kan­sai Air­ports said. The ‘pee pole’ will flush.

De­signed to en­cour­age dogs to re­lieve them­selves be­fore board­ing do­mes­tic flights, it would be the first such ca­nine com­fort fa­cil­ity at a Ja­panese aiport, Reuters re­ported.

Ser­vice dogs are per­mit­ted to use dis­abledac­ces­si­ble toi­lets in the ter­mi­nal but the mess must be cleaned up.

The town of Ing­ham in North­ern Queesnland has reached ‘cri­sis point’ af­ter hun­dreds of thou­sands of fruit bats in­vaded the place last month. Things have got so bad that kids are afraid to go to school any­more and res­cue he­li­copters can’t land at the lo­cal hos­pi­tal.

Fly­ing foxes, also known as fruit bats, cur­rently out­num­ber hu­mans in Ing­ham by hun­dreds of thou­sands. And they are not the only bat species that de­cided to make the Australian town their home over the last month.

Ac­cord­ing to lo­cal sources, peo­ple there have been in­vaded by four dif­fer­ent species of bats, each of which mates at dif­fer­ent times, mak­ing it re­ally hard for au­thor­i­ties to in­ter­vene. To make mat­ters worse, the bats are pro­tected by law, so lo­cals can’t take mat­ters into their own hands ei­ther.

“It just seems to me that ev­ery bat in Aus­tralia is now in Ing­ham,” Ray­mon Jayo, Mayor of Hinch­in­brook Coun­cil, said.

“There’s four dif­fer­ent species and be­cause they all have young at dif­fer­ent times, there’s hardly a win­dow of op­por­tu­nity when we can in­ter­act with these bats to try and move them on.”

The bat pop­u­la­tion in Ing­ham has swollen to an es­ti­mated 300,000 in re­cent weeks, far out­num­ber­ing the hu­man pop­u­la­tion, and they don’t seem ea­ger to move on any time soon.

“Bat tor­na­does” have be­come com­mon around town, and so have fallen trees tore down by the sheer weight of the an­i­mals hang­ing by their branches.

“They’ve to­tally de­stroyed their ex­ist­ing roost so they’re look­ing for new coun­try,” Mayor Jayo told ABC News. Where they want to go is ba­si­cally be­side all our crit­i­cal ar­eas — that in­clude the schools, the hos­pi­tal, kinder­gartens and preschools. It’s be­yond a nui­sance — the town is at fever pitch.”

Many chil­dren at Ing­ham State School are re­port­edly too scared to go to classes, as a mas­sive colony of bats has made the school grounds their home.

Bats are known to carry se­ri­ous dis­eases that can be passed on to hu­mans through scratches and bites, and some kids ob­vi­ously don’t want to take any risks.

Un­for­tu­nately, there isn’t a lot au­thor­i­ties can do, as bats are no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult to dis­perse, es­pe­cially in such large numbers. All any­one can do is sit tight and wait for most of the bats to leave, which some ex­perts es­ti­mate will hap­pen in April.

While most of the lo­cals com­plain about the bat in­va­sion, com­par­ing it with a bi­b­li­cal plague, animal ex­perts warn that bats play a vi­tal role in main­tain­ing the natural bal­ance, and that we as a species would be much worse off with­out them.

“The im­por­tance of these an­i­mals is com­pletely un­der­rated — with­out these crea­tures out there pol­li­nat­ing and cre­at­ing new life, we may as well pack up and walk away from our ecol­ogy,” Amanda Wright from North Queens­land Wildlife Care said.

•Alonge

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