Commercial activities at Ijora Badia, in the Apapa area of Lagos State, came to a halt on Wednesday when policemen and robbers engaged in a gun duel.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the robbers, who had arrived Marine Bridge on several power bikes, dislodged a bullion van laden conveying a huge amount of money from its escort vehicle by opening fire at them.
It was said that the robbers started shooting sporadically into the air to scare motorists and residents, and attempted to escape with the bullion van. Their progress was said to have been slowed down by heavy traffic.
Our correspondent learnt that the Divisional Police Officer, Apapa, Usman Ndanbabo, and policemen from the Area B Command arrived at the scene after being alerted by the sound of gunfire. The robbers reportedly disembarked from the bullion van and engaged the police in a shootout.
Other police divisions within the area command were said to have also blocked all the escape routes and dispatched anti-robbery teams to assist the Apapa Division.
In the gun duel which lasted for several minutes, a member of the Nigerian Navy and two other civilians were said to have sustained injuries.
However, one of the robbers was reportedly shot dead while another was arrested.
It was learnt that the Navy personnel and the others, who were injured were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. As of press time, the condition of the injured could not be ascertained.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Lagos Police Command, Ngozi Braide, told our correspondent on the telephone that the remaining suspects escaped with bullet wounds.
Braide said, “The DPO of Apapa Division was informed of the gunfire around Ijora Badia Bridge and dispatched a team of anti-robbery policemen. The robbers opened fire on the policemen and our men retaliated. One of the robbers was killed, another arrested, while the others escaped with bullet wounds.
“A yellow unregistered power bike, with the inscription, Apache Hipar, was recovered from the robbers as well as two Ak-47 rifles with double magazine each loaded with 30 rounds of ammunition.
“Meanwhile, investigations are ongoing to arrest the fleeing suspects but normalcy has returned to the area.”
PUNCH Metro had reported on October 9, 2013, that some gunmen, on a bike, shot and killed three policemen in a patrol van in Ijora Olopa area of the state.
Police sources told our correspondent that they were working on the theory that it was the same gang of robbers that operated on Wednesday.
A policeman from Area ‘C’ Police Command, Surulere, Lagos, who pleaded for anonymity, identified the dead robber as one of the culprits.
“You may recall that two weeks ago, five policemen on patrol were shot and three of them died while two survived after the robbers on a bike opened fire on their vehicle. One of the surviving policemen gave us information and from what we put together, it is highly possible that it is the same gang,” he said.