Police authorities yesterday admitted that its men killed two officials of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Lagos. A statement signed by the Lagos State Police Command spokesperson, Ngozi C. Braide, explained that officials of the NSCDC assaulted and abducted some policemen on duty.
According to the statement, “the Lagos State Command wishes to use this medium to put the record straight on what actually transpired at Isawo-Ikorodu at early hours of yesterday between the NSCDC and the Police. “At about 0145hrs, there was a distress call from DM security PPMC, Mosimi that they were experiencing drop in pressure on the pipeline. “The Unit Commander in charge of Konu immediately pulled out his men on Konu axis under Inspector Sunday Gabriel to proceed to the scene.
“As they were approaching, they heard sound of serious gun firing in their area of pipeline coverage and the Inspector instructed his men to proceed to that direction as it could be the activities of vandals. “Upon arrival, they saw a group of Civil Defence Corps members coming out from the direction where the shooting was earlier heard.
“The NSCDC men challenged the policemen who were about four in number on what their mission was in the area; “saying that it was their sole responsibility (Civil Defence) to guard and protect pipelines.”
“At this juncture there was an argument between the NSCDC and the police and the most senior NSCDC officer, DSC Olufemi, ordered his men who were about 14 in number to disarm, arrest and handcuff the police team leader and three other members of his team. “The NSCDC succeeded in disarming the Police team leader Inspector, Sunday Gabriel, handcuffed him, collected his service pistol, walkie-talkie, and Police I.D card. “As they were about dragging him into one of their standby Hilux vehicles, a phone call was put to the Police Unit Commander reporting the situation.
“The three other officers resisted the arrest and this infuriated civil defence officials who started shooting sporadically to intimidate and subdue the police officers. “Before the Police Commander arrived the scene, the NSCDC officials had taken to their heels abandoning the handcuffed and leg chained Police Inspector with one of the NSCDC personnel. “Therefore, it was shocking that at about 0400hrs, the Civil Defence Corps Commander called the Police Commander Mosimi, to say that he lost two of his men and their corpses have been deposited at the hospital.
Up till now, the pistol of Inspector Sunday Gabriel who was badly beaten and stabbed by the NSCDC officials including his other accoutrements are still with NSCDC. “Subsequently, far away in Alausa, Ikeja, at about 0800hrs today, the NSCDC officials abducted and assaulted three policemen namely: Sgt Charles Igiebor, Cpl Ekun Julius and Cpl Okoro Charles who went for National I.D Card registration exercise.
“They also started attacking policemen on sight in other parts of the State. “The Commissioner of Police Lagos State Command immediately went on air to warn policemen not to engage in any form of confrontation with the NSCDC officials. “However investigation into the matter has commenced while Lagosians are advised to maintain peace and remain calm, please.”
But eyewitness accounts said that the incident actually happened between midnight and 3 am when the civil defence officers were returning from a site of arrest of some pipeline vandals. According to the witness, the arrested vandals contacted some police officers who ambushed the civil defence officers and their prisoners. “Immediately the police got wind of the information, they laid siege for the cvil defense men and open fire on the NSCDC patrol vehicles killing two while others scampered for their dear lives with gunshot wounds as the vandals were released immediately by the police.”
Two officers, identified as Gabriel Adaji and Innocent Akegbe, were killed while five others received severe gunshot wounds, according to a source at the NSCDC. According to the source, an argument had ensued between the returning NSCDC officers and the team of police officers at a checkpoint along the Ikorodu expressway.
“One of the policemen said we (NSCDC) had no right to operate in the area. “The NSCDC men explained that it was their duty to protect all government facilities including oil pipelines,” the source said, adding that after the argument.