By OLASUNKANMI AKONI
LAGOS— No fewer than 200 officials of the Sure-P Federal Task Force have been arrested by the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences in their training ground at the old Lagos toll gate and taken to the headquarters of the Lagos State Police Command in Ikeja.
According to reports, officials of the Lagos Task Force tried to arrest a vehicle plying the BRT lane at Ketu area but the driver diverted the vehicle into the premise of Federal Task Force on the way to Alausa.
In the process of trying to get the vehicle back, officials of the Federal Task Force allegedly mobilised and attacked the policemen with planks, bottles and beat up the few officers, inflicting injuries on them.
The Lagos State Task Force, led by Chief Superintendent of Police Bayo Sulaiman, went for a reinforcement and stormed the area with armed policemen, leading to mayhem. The policemen used teargas to disperse and overwhelm men of the Federal Task Force, leading to arrest of over 200 of them.
We were attacked with bottles
Speaking to newsmen, Sulaiman said the Federal Task Force attacked his men with dangerous weapons, stressing that there was no way a taskforce could take over the function of the Police.
He said: “They beat up our men and held them hostage. We will not allow them to take over our function. We arrested close to 100 of them. If we allow this to go unchecked, it will be worse next time.”
He said his men were attacked with bottles as one of them was beaten with plank and serious injuries inflicted on him while other officers were also wounded.
When interrogated, the driver of the vehicle that sparked off the trouble, Timothy Uko, said he did not know any member of the Federal Task Force but that he decided to park close to their office and beg the Policemen who arrested him in order not to create traffic snarl.Uko was allegedly beaten up by the Policemen for fuelling the crisis.
One of the Federal Task Force officials, who was on queue, collapsed and was rushed to the hospital by the taskforce officials.
Most of the federal taskforce officials, who spoke with our reporter, said they were wrongly arrested and that they were not among those who attacked the policemen.
One of the leaders of the federal taskforce, Aminu Kazeem, said he was inside the premises when the policemen stormed the area and arrested him and his colleagues, but could not tell if some of his men attacked policemen.
Mr Adeyemi Adeshina, an engineer, who claimed to be the Deputy Director in the Federal Road Maintenance Agency, FERMA, and working at the taskforce yard, said he was inside when the Policemen came and arrested him.