Police in Lagos on Wednesday dared the
81 Division of the Nigerian Army to present evidence that any soldier was shot during last week’s clash between some soldiers and policemen.
Recall that one Inspector Monday Orukpe attached to the Ojo Division of the Lagos State Police Command was beaten to death by angry soldiers last week.
The soldiers attacked the inspector and his colleagues who were controlling traffic on the Trade Fair section of the Lagos-Badagry expressway.
The soldiers said to be returning from a course, got angry when traffic on their lane was halted to enable other road users to have easy passage.
Eye witnesses said the soldiers had jumped down from their vehicle, grabbed the policemen, threw them into the truck and whisked them away.
The incident had created tension in the state. A military delegation led by Brigadier-General KN Nwoko paid a condolence visit to the Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Abiodun Alabi, last week.
But state Police Public Relations Officer in the State, Benjamin Hundeyin, in a statement, on Wednesday, accused the Army of attempting to twist the turn of events.
Hundeyin said although the police in Lagos were in a grieving mood and had decided to toe the line of civility, it would not accept misinformation.
His statement read, “The attention of the Lagos State Police Command has been drawn to a report credited to Major General Umar Musa, outgoing GOC 81 Division, claiming that a ‘police officer shot at the soldier during the altercation which clipped him in the ear but narrowly missed his vital parts.
“The fact remains that on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at the Trade Fair area of Lagos State, about thirty Privates of the Nigerian Army attacked five policemen for stopping vehicles along their lane to pave way for a heavy duty truck joining the expressway. After the soldiers had brutalized the ASP leading the team, taken out his magazine, and abducted two Inspectors with their rifles, the next Inspector they attempted to attack fired a single shot into the air – an act that made the soldiers retreat.
“The single shot was into the air. At no point was anyone hit. The Lagos State Police Command challenges the Army authorities to present the soldier allegedly shot. While we mourn our fallen hero, and pray for the total recovery of the second abducted Inspector, we urge Nigerians to disregard the claim that a soldier was shot as there is absolutely no truth to it.”
The Lagos police spokesperson added that the Command was awaiting the report of the panel of inquiry set up by the Nigerian Army to investigate the immediate and remote cause of the incident.
He however urged the Army to identify the soldiers behind the torture and murder of the police inspector, as well as return two AK47 rifles and three magazines the soldiers carted away.