Fashola wants Army to tackle mayhem
BY OLASUNKANMI AKONI & MONSUR OLOWOOPEJO
LAGOS – Soldiers engaged policemen in a clash again, yesterday, at Obanikoro, Ikorodu road, following an attempt to tow the vehicle of a military personnel for encroaching on BRT lane.
The incident which occurred in the early hours, left several policemen and soldiers wounded. A television camera man was also injured.
Trouble started when policemen attached to the Lagos State Task Force on Environment and Special Offences, led by Superintendent Bayo Sulaimon, made to impound the car of a female Air Force officer who shunned warnings from the task force men, and drove her car, with registration number SD 754 KJA, on the Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, lane.
Attempts to impound the car attracted the attention of some other military personnel around the scene who tried to rescue their colleague. The attempt sparked off free for all.
During the clash, a soldier, who removed his name tag to avoid being identified; one of the task force operatives, identified as Samuel Uto and a Channels TV cameraman, sustained different degrees of injuries, two vehicles, including a towing van belonging to the task force, were allegedly damaged in the process.
The Air Force woman htried to drive her car away not knowing that an iron spike had been placed in front of the car.
Her car climed the spike, punching one of the tyres which made it easy for the task force people to tow the vehicle.
In the confusion that ensued, a soldier, whose car had registration number KE 507 EKY, came out and carefully removed name tag on his uniform.
He suddenly went hysterical, calling the police officers names and dared anyone to tow his vehicle. His behaviour infuriated the policemen who had earlier set free 10 vehicles driven by soldiers for the same offence.
In the melee that ensued, the male soldier, a lance corporal, gave one of the policemen a head butt which led to a fight.
The soldier later called for reinforcement. When this failed, one of the policemen had to fire teargas into the air causing a pandemonium.
Several policemen at the scene fled on sensing danger, while only a few remained to sort things out.
A Divisional Police Officer, DPO, who came to maintain peace ran for his life when he saw battle ready soldiers advancing to the scene of the incident.
The presence of the soldiers made other policemen at the scene to run away. Although the soldiers were armed, no shot was fired.
It was learnt that Governor Fashola on receiving the report got across to the military command which quickly stepped into the matter and is currently investigating the incident.
Meanwhile, a police car driven by a sergeant and a Customs vehicle had earlier been towed by the task force for violating the BRT lane.
Even a vehicle belonging to the Lagos Central Business District, CBD Enforcement unit with the registration number LA 23 CBD was also towed for a similar offence.