By Alber Akpor
LAGOS—PANDEMONIUM broke out, Thursday, in Lagos after a team of Lagos state Special Taskforce on environment led by a Superintendent of Police (names withheld) stormed Makoko and Makinde areas of Yaba demolishing illegal structures.
Residents, children and defencless women who were caught unaware over the exercise were seen running helter-skelter as the wary environmental officials fully assisted by the police brought down the structures.
Those who displaced their wares along the roads close to a filling station were not spared as their goods were scattered on the ground.
However, the situation soon degenerated into a violent dimension as youths of the area mobilized and challenged the rationale behind the wanton destruction of goods and property.
The police wasted no time in firing directly into the surging crowd injuring over ten persons.
In the ensuing crossfire, the police team leader was reportedly shot in the leg and was hurriedly rushed out of the scene for prompt medical attention.
Meanwhile the youths who were injured were seen lying defenselessly in their pool of the own blood. Some of the wounded women who were stripped naked in frantic attempt to evade arrest and whose wares, were equally thrown on the roads were hauled into a waiting Black Maria and driven to an unknown destination.
Some who spoke in their hideout for fear of being arrested openly berated the state government for its insensitivity.
They decried the destructive exercise two days to the celebration of Christmas saying, “We were never pre-informed. They just came with Mobile Policemen shooting and throwing away our wares. They beat some of us, while our children ran in diverse ways, held us and threw us into the van.
Efforts to speak with a gun welding MOPOL and a member of the team, was rebuffed with a warning to this reporter to vacate the scene with immediate effect.
However, another policeman who looked humane only muttered, “They were duly informed and the state government has been campaigning against street trading. It is just that these people do not want to adhere to the law and respect constituted authorities.”
When the state police pubic relations officer, Mr. Frank Mba was contacted, he assured that he would get details of the exercise.