The deceased’s sales boy identified simply as Amos, who was also knocked down by Adisa when he reportedly lost control of the vehicle, was rescued and rushed to hospital for treatment.
PUNCH Metro was given two accounts of the circumstances surrounding Stella’s death on Monday.
Eyewitnesses at the scene of the crash, who were seen in a video, blamed a yet-to-be-identified policeman for the accident, adding that Adisa lost control of the vehicle as the cop was dragging the steering wheel with him because of N100 bribe.
“Can you see what the police is doing in Benin, he was dragging the key with the driver, they have killed a innocent person but the guy is still breathing and has never died. Policeman was dragging the steering with the driver because of N100. How do you feel now? See what you have caused,” the recorder said in the footage posted by Instablog9ja.
Stella was said to be standing with her husband, Williams, and their son, Ochuko, when the tragedy struck around 7pm.
However, another account had it that Adisa attempted to evade a stop-and-search operation by policemen attached to the Ugbowo Division, and in the process, rammed into Stella and the other victim.
Stella’s son, Tega, told PUNCH Metro that his mother and her sales boy, Amos, were knocked down by the vehicle, adding he wanted justice.
He stated, “My mother was a lecturer at UNIBEN and was doing business on the side. She was facing the bus, which she used to supply water and was counting money, when Adisa’s bus ran into her and her sales boy, Amos.
“The police were dragging the steering wheel with the driver because of the N100 bribe that they wanted to collect from him, while the bus was in motion. Amos is recovering but my mother was killed and we want justice for her death.”
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, said Adisa was driving recklessly and tried to evade a stop-and-search operation when the tragedy struck, adding that the police rushed the victims to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, where a doctor pronounced Stella dead on arrival.
Nwabuzor stated, “On Monday, July 20, 2020, around 7pm, the command received a distress call about an accident around the University of Benin on the Benin-Lagos Expressway. While operatives of the Ugbowo Police Divisional were conducting stop-and-search, the team sighted a Suzuki bus with number plate TEN 461 ZY, being driven dangerously towards the point of the stop-and-search and the policemen flagged down the driver, but he refused and unfortunately hit one Mrs Stella Okotie, a table water seller and another person by the roadside.
“Mrs Stella Okotie was the one, who suffered the major impact and the police rushed the victims to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital for treatment, but on arrival, the medical doctor certified Mrs Stella Okotie dead.
“In reaction to this, miscreants took to the major highway, barricaded the road and stopped the movement of vehicle and pedestrians, and descended on the team leader, Inspector David Uwagboi, beat and inflicted injuries on him and held him hostage.
“It took the intervention of the inspector’s wife, who ran to the scene on receiving information and laid down her life for the mob to take instead of that of her husband. While on this, we mobilised operatives, in collaboration with military personnel, to the scene to remedy the situation.”
When asked about the N100 bribe allegation against the policeman, who allegedly dragged the steering wheel with Adisa, the PPRO stated, “In a scene, several videos may have been taken and people will always like to post the one of interest that will suit their purpose. The issue of asking for money, that I don’t know, but I know too well that when a motorist is flagged down to stop, the police have the right to do that.”