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We lost N3.5bn in clash with soldiers – Police

Posted by Olalekan Adetayo on 2005/10/13 | Views: 365 |

We lost N3.5bn in clash with soldiers – Police


The Lagos State Police Command on Thursday put the estimate of its property destroyed during the clash between its men and soldiers in Ojuelegba at N3.5 billion.

The Lagos State Police Command on Thursday put the estimate of its property destroyed during the clash between its men and soldiers in Ojuelegba at N3.5 billion.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Adewole Ajakaiye, said officials of the Federal Bureau of Statistics who visited the scene made the estimate.

Ajakaiye spoke in Lagos at a public hearing by the Senate ad-hoc committee on the October 4, 2005 clash.

He confirmed that three civilians were killed and over 40 vehicles burnt.

Ajakaiye maintained that soldiers from the Abalti Military Barracks, Ojuelegba, were to be blamed for the fracas in which the Area ‘C’ Police headquarters was also burnt down.

He further alleged that the soldiers prevented men of the State Fire Service and the Julius Berger Fire Service from entering the premises.

Ajakaiye said one of the 47 armed robbery suspects released from the cells during the clash was a relative of one of the soldiers.

But he did not name the soldier, saying that the officer in charge of Area ‘C’ will provide the name to the committee.

Ajakaiye described the fracas as a manifestation of an age-long rivalry allegedly existing between the military and the police in the state.

He alleged that the military had the belief that the police were an inferior.

The General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Samaila Iliya, however, faulted Ajakaiye’s claim.

Iliya said that no soldier from the Abalti Barracks was allowed to go out on the day of the fracas as the gates were under lock and key.

Iliya told the committee that trouble started when one Private Tajudeen Agbabiaka, travelling on a commercial motorcycle, resisted the move by seven policemen to collect bribe from the motorcyclist.

According to him, a scuffle arose during which Agbabiaka disarmed one of the policemen of his AK47.

Iliya said the soldier handed the rifle over to one of his colleagues to take to the barracks while he proceeded to the Area ‘C’ police headquarters to lodge a formal complaint.

He said while this was going on, policemen massed around Ojuelegba and later, started attacking soldiers.

The driver and the orderly of one Brig.-Gen J.E. Aremu were allegedly attacked while they were passing through the troubled area.

The Army boss reiterated the organisation’s position that social miscreants took the opportunity of the situation to set the police station ablaze.

He said some of them (miscreants), carrying jerry cans suspected to be filled with fuel, headed for the station.

He said that future incidents could be averted if the rank and file emulated the esprit de corps that existed among top officers in the services.

Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Senator Nuhu Aliyu, said his team was determined to get to the root of the crisis.

The PUNCH, Friday, October 14, 2005

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