By Bose Adelaja
It began as a minor face-off which soon turned violent, leaving four people, including a policeman, severely injured. The fracas which occurred on Friday April 12, 2013 involved some policemen attached to Ijede Division and some sand dealers in Agura area of Ikorodu, Lagos State.
The incident led to the arrest of a couple and the chairman of the sand dealers association who was later granted bail after paying an undisclosed amount of money. The couple, on their part, were charged to the court while the four victims are presently receiving treatment in various hospitals.
Problem started around 11am when a fully loaded tipper was flagged down by some policemen at Ebute area of Agura.
Identity of passengers
The police men, all in mufti except one, were said to be inside a private car heading towards a local dredging site when they met the tipper which apart from the driver had eight passengers on board.
When queried by the police men on the identity of passengers, the tipper driver was said to have informed that they were mostly youths in the area who were going for their breakfast at a nearby bus-stop. Vanguard Metro gathered that the driver of the vehicle was arrested and put in the private car.
This infuriated the youths who swooped on the car and forcefully tried to prevent the officers from driving off. The resultant clash soon turned violent, with the police men shooting sporadically, ostensibly to ward off further attacks.
At the end of the day, three youths were injured by gunshots and one policeman was beaten into coma. It took some time before peace returned to the area.
A house wife (names withheld) whose husband was a member of the sand dealers association was also beaten by the policemen for taking sides with the youths and she was later taken into custody when she went in company of the chairman of the sand dealers to incident the matter at Ijede division. However, both of them were arrested by the Police who also went in search of her husband. The chairman was granted bail a couple of days later but the couple has been taken to court.
When VM visited the United Sand Dealers Association, Agura branch, it discovered that the parent body had not identified with it over the crisis as the branch was said not to have been remitting its monthly dues. VM also visited two of the hospitals where the victims were receiving treatment but the doctors prevented them from granting an interview on the account that they were severely injured and this could increase their pains.
When VM visited Agura tipper garage, there was little or no activities there. A source hinted that some executive members of the association have been arrested by the Police, while the driver of the intercepted vehicle was still receiving treatment in a private hospital.
Also, the incident has affected activities among the sand dealers as some of their members have fled the area for fear of being arrested by the Police.
When VM visited Area N Command, a Police officer who pleaded anonymity said the policemen were on illegal duty as the dredging area was under Imota division.