Banks on Creek Road, Apapa, Lagos, set ablaze by protesting truck drivers over the alleged killing of their colleague by a policeman, yesterday. Right: A security operative watches over one of the arrested suspects. Photos: Akinwunmi Ibrahim.
By Evelyn Usman & Monsuru Olowoopejo
Lagos—The mobile policeman, who allegedly shot a truck driver to death on Wednesday at Creek Road, Apapa, and 18 others, who allegedly took part in the burning of two banks have been arrested.
Commissioner of Police, Lagos State Command, Fatai Owoseni, who revealed this yesterday, frowned at the action of the Mobile policeman, saying he acted on his own.
Condemning the action of the killer cop, a Sergeant attached to Police Mobile Force 23, Obalende, which led to the razing of two banks by protesting truck drivers, Owoseni said the Sergeant would bear the consequences of his action.
The CP also apologised for the policeman’s action.
He said: “I apologise to the public for the act of misconduct exhibited by that policeman. We will continue to ensure training and retraining of our personnel so that they discharge their responsibilities within the ambit of the law.”
As first step towards ensuring that justice takes its course, the command boss said the policeman will undergo orderly room trial when he recovers from the wounds he sustained.
As at yesterday, the killer cop was said to have undergone surgery.
Owoseni said: “It was an unfortunate incident. Like we said before, the policeman in question has been taken into custody. At the moment, he’s being guarded in the hospital because he was stabbed. This morning (yesterday) he was taken to the theatre for surgery. That notwithstanding, the provisions of extant regulations of the police will be applied in dealing with the situation.
“The police are at the forefront of cleansing institutional rot and we will continue to do that. No policeman is given a gun to shoot at will. That officer is not one of us. He acted on his capacity as an individual not for the police.
“The Inspector General of Police has been very clear on this. He abhors lawlessness and has zero tolerance for cops who do not keep to the tenets of standard policing.”
Speaking about the driver’s reaction, Owoseni said: “Without justifying their actions, I think the reaction from the drivers was as a result of bottled-up anger. Some of them left their families to load at the port with expectation to return within two days, only to spend one week there.
“But that does not mean they should take laws into their hands. What they did was brazen lawlessness.
He however could not state the extent of damage on both banks. Rather he said that the banks were in the best position to say what was destroyed in the fire, affirming emphatically that no bank staff lost his life during the pandemonium.
He said: “When I visited the scene, no staff of the banks was hurt as they were hurriedly evacuated.
”However, three vehicles were vandalised and the banks were partially burnt.”
Owoseni said 18 persons arrested in connection with the mayhem were being screened at the end of which those found innocent would be released.
He said: “There were some people with legitimate businesses there, but there are those who had no business there and only came to take advantage of the situation. They are hoodlums who came to engage in violence or looting. Those ones will be dealt with. We are still screening them.”
Tanker drivers resume fuel lifting
Meantime, the Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, yesterday resumed loading of fuel from Tank Farms in Apapa, hours after suspending its activities following the violence that erupted in Apapa, Lagos, over alleged killing of a driver by a policeman.
PTD, an arm of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (PTD-NUPENG), has however, cautioned Nigerians against panic buying of petrol products.
PTD’s National Chairman, Salimon Oladiti, who confirmed the drivers’ resumption, said the tanker drivers stopped loading petrol products in a tank farm close to the scene where the driver was shot to prevent the crisis from escalating.