(Corrects title of body to Lagos State Emergency Management
LAGOS, July 4 Nigerian soldiers blocked roads,
fired shots into the air and burned several buses in Lagos on
Friday after a soldier was killed in a bus accident, an episode
residents said recalled the country's former military
Nigeria has been a democracy since shortly after the death
of military ruler Sani Abacha 1998, but rights groups say abuses
and indiscipline by its troops remain a problem, especially in
the remote northeast, where an Islamist insurgency threatens
stability across Africa's largest economy and top oil producer.
"The rampaging soldiers already burnt five ... buses," Femi
Oke-Osanyitolu, director general of the Lagos State Emergency
Management Agency, told Reuters by telephone, calling it
"barbaric and uncivilised."
There were no deaths or injuries in the incident, he said.
The soldiers, he said, were reacting to the killing of one
of their number who was hit by a bus while riding a motorcycle.
Nigerian bus drivers have a reputation for reckless driving,
although it was not clear whose fault the accident was.
"The governor of the state is currently talking with the
superior officers of the army to restore order within the area,"
around Ikorodu Road, on the sprawling Lagos mainland,
The defence spokesman did not immediately comment on the
soldiers' behaviour. Disturbances continued for several hours
from the morning into the afternoon.
Local TV stations broadcast pictures of the buses up in
flames. Twitter buzzed with comments from Lagos residents
comparing it to the days of military dictatorship in the 1970s
and 80s. Then, Lagos was Nigeria's capital and scenes of
military indiscipline in its streets were commonplace - and well
publicised in the songs of Afrobeat star Fela Kuti.
"They were armed to the teeth, we are all afraid, everybody
was afraid of stray bullets because the soldiers were shooting
sporadically (in the air) to scare away people," Bunmi Ajayi, a
publisher of children books who had to shut his office, said.
Another witness, Segun Alabi, said soldiers were preventing
buses from passing through and confiscating and destroying
people's smartphones to prevent witnesses filming them.
(Reporting by Oludare Mayowa and Tim Cocks; Writing by Tim
Cocks, editing by Mark Heinrich)