SHOW OF SHAME!
2 injured, patrol vehicles, APC destroyed
… As Police, Navy clash in Lagos over okada
Yet again, the ugly scenario of violent confrontation between personnel of Nigeria’s uniformed services has again played out in Lagos.
There was pandemonium in Apapa, home to two of the nation’s busiest ports, last weekend, as a number of armed personnel of the Nigerian Navy (NN) and those of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) clashed over alleged seizure of a motorcycle belonging to a Naval rating by certain Policemen.
Apart from two Policemen, who allegedly sustained injuries, a number of Police operational vehicles, including patrol pick-up trucks and an armoured personnel carriers (APC) were allegedly destroyed in the show of shame.
The origin of the incident, it was learnt, was traced to last Friday when a team of policemen attached to the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences allegedly accosted two Naval ratings on a motorcycle allegedly riding against traffic at Trebor Roundabout and allegedly impounded their motorcycle.
Consequently, according to eyewitness accounts, the enraged Naval personnel went to their base and reinforced, but, on arriving Trebor Roundabout, the task force officials had departed the scene.
It was gathered that the aggrieved Naval personnel allegedly subsequently descended on a team of Policemen attached to the Lagos State anti-crime task force, the Rapid Respond Squad (RRS) manning an APC stationed at the location.
As an eyewitness put it: “The Policemen, in their bid to escape, drove the APC dangerously and out of the roundabout to the Area ‘B’ Command Headquarters. Some of the Naval personnel went after them. A Police Inspector attached to a leading new generation bank, on Liverpool Road, was attacked and beaten to pulp while his rifle was taken from him.”
It was learnt that the Naval personnel allegedly took the war to the Lagos State Police Command Area ‘B’ Headquarters, shooting indiscriminately, and sending motorists and residents scampering for safety.
“They smashed the windscreens of some patrol vehicles and one APC was completely demobilised, as its tyres were destroyed. It took the intervention of the Area Commander, Ali Mohammed, who contacted the Naval authorities for help to calm the frayed nerves,” according to a source.
The Information Officer, Western Naval Command, Jerry Omodara, when contacted, said that the Navy did not attack the Police formation.
He said: “What happened was that two Naval ratings were on their way home on a motorbike after the close of work and Policemen manning a checkpoint at Point Road junction towards Liverpool stopped them. The ratings tried to explain that they were personnel closing from work and the Policemen refused to let them go. The scene where the incident occurred was close to the Hydrographic Office of the Navy and a Rear Admiral, who saw it happening, sent a Lieutenant to the scene. The Lieutenant pleaded with the Policemen, but they refused to listen. The Lieutenant then demanded that they all go to the Area ‘B’ Police Command Headquarters. But on their way to the Command, an RRS patrol van approached and hijacked the situation. The RRS Policemen opened fire on the Navy and snatched the motorbike from them.”
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