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Again, Police in Accidental Discharge, Kill Two, Injure Others

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 Acting IGP, Mohammed Abubakar 

By Chiemelie Ezeobi

“Once more, the Police have killed innocent persons in circumstances that are far from crime control. Although it little shocks Nigerians anymore that the Police killed innocent persons, yet, it deepens the slur to which the image of the Police Force is often dragged each time it occurs. And many are the times indeed.

In a recent incident, four policemen attached to the State Anti Robbery Squad (SARS), were said to have been more than tipsy, having spent hours carousing at a Night Club, Monalido Club, Kalakuta road, off Creek Road, in the Apapa district of Lagos State.

In foggy circumstances, the Police men who were said to have escorted a certain sailor, one Captain George¸ to the club last Saturday, as they usually did in the past, had gone into the club with their loaded weapons.  The police officers are two corporals and two inspectors.

Eyewitness account said the Lagos socialite had gone to the club to unwind with his escorts; and stayed till the wee hours of the next day however, as they were about to leave, the escorts were said to have fired their guns purportedly into the sky in sheer mark of revelry, having lost full control of their emotions.

The shooting surprised the club members and many of them began to run helter skelter for shelter from the flying bullets. But two persons, one Azubuike Benedict and a lady simply identified as Joy were not as lucky as the bullets hit them on the stomach and neck respectively.  Others were inured. One of them, Darlington, received a bullet on his knee.

THISDAY further gathered that the police officers were fond of shooting sporadically into the air to celebrate while their boss sprays money on fun seekers anytime they came to the club to unwind. Observers are thus worried at the flippant excuse at which live bullets are expended by policemen. Another question raised by this incident is on why the police would go into a club with their guns when they face the danger of being inebriated?

Speaking to THISDAY Thursday in Apapa, friends of Azubuike called on the appropriate authorities to see that justice is served. Narrating the scenario, one of the deceased’s friends, Deji Nathaniel, said he was hanging out with Azubuike when another mutual friend showed up and asked them out to Monalido to unwind. It turned out to be Azubuike’s last outing ever. Azubuike hails from Kwale in Delta State.

According to Nathaniel, the 39-year-old father of Esther (6-years-old) had just come back two months ago from Italy where he resides.  Described by friends as an all round entertainer and mentor, the death has shocked all who knew him.

Nathaniel said: “We were all together that day when I stepped out. The next thing I knew, a lady rushed to me and told me that Zuby (their pet name for him) had been shot dead.  When I got to our spot, I was told he had been taken to Lagoon Hospital for treatment.

“I rushed there only to see Zuby lying in a pool of his own blood. Even though he was in pains, he was still talking. He asked me to hold his hand which I did and was assuring him that he would survive. He complained that his stomach was hurting him because he was shot in the ribs.”

Nathaniel said he held the hand of the deceased until he was rolled into the theatre for surgery and about five hours later, they got a call to announce his death.

“When we took him to the hospital, they demanded for N1million before treatment would be carried out. We quickly rallied round and raised N800, 000 before treatment commenced.

“First they gave him four pints of blood but it obviously was not enough as the hospital told us that they needed six more pints. We went around to different hospitals to get that. It is painful that despite all our efforts, Zuby still died.”

According to Nathaniel, the said Captain George had stormed the club with his ash coloured Toyota Forerunner Jeep with registration number FST950AJ while his escorts were in a white Hilux truck.

“We want the authorities to do something about this matter and not sweep it under the carpet because this has been Captain George’s modus operandi. He comes into the club with his escorts and after they have enjoyed themselves, he would throw wads of cash in the air while his escorts will also shoot into the air in joyous mood.”

One of the victims, who was identified as Darlington, who was lucky to have survived the gunshot on his knee was brought to THISDAY after treatment to narrate his account.

According to him, they were catching their fun when the stillness of the night was broken by sporadic gunshots. He said while the fun seekers quickly dispersed, he took cover but was hit all the same.

He demanded that, “the police officers who did this should be brought to book since they are known. I was lucky the bullet did not kill me.”

Also speaking to THISDAY, one of the petty-traders around the club precinct, one Gbenga, claimed the policemen were drunk and as result fired their guns even though no one threatened them or their boss.

He said: “Captain George is a very popular face at the Monalido Club and so that day, he had come as usual to the club and as they were leaving, his police escorts shot sporadically into the air. The bullets killed two people instantly and injured so many people.”

When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Joseph Jaiyeoba, a superintendent of police, had confirmed the incident but said he could not say if the policemen were drunk as alleged.

He said: “The incident happened quite alright but we do not know if the policemen were drunk. From what I deduced from the information reaching me, the shots were accidental.

“The police officer in question tried to shoot his gun up in the air but his gun jammed and hit his hand thereby bringing the gun down. It was in the process that two people were killed.”

Jaiyeoba said investigations are going to ascertain what truly happened as well as secure the arrest of the two fleeing officers.

The two arrested officers have since been handed over to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO), Mr. Muhammed Muazu, of Apapa Police Division.

It would be recalled that on assumption of office, the acting IGP, Mohammed Abubakar, as part of his reformatory agenda for the police, had ordered the withdrawal of all approved police escorts from private individuals and corporate bodies across the country.”

Source: Thisday Newspapers

#Nigeria #Lagos Tanker Drivers Get 4 Days to Quit Apapa-Oshodi Express Road

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Apapa gridlock

 

 

By Gboyega Akinsanmi

 

 
Lagos State Government Thursday  issued a four-day ultimatum to all articulated vehicle drivers to desist from unauthorised parking along Apapa-Oshodi expressway or face harsh punitive measures.

 

The gridlock caused by the tankers has virtually brought to a halt economic activities on the axis, forcing the closure of many businesses.

The state government issued the ultimatum after an emergency meeting with the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG), Petroleum Tanker Drivers (PTD) and Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria (RTEAN) Wednesday night.

 

The state Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Kayode Opeifa, who led his counterpart in the Local Government Ministry, Mr. Ademorin Kuye, and Chairman of the state Taskforce on Special Offence Unit, Mr. Bayo Sulaiman, to the meeting, said enforcement would commence next Monday.

Opeifa said the state government could no longer watch and fold its arms to allow such display of lawlessness in the state, adding that the tanker and trailer drivers who failed to comply would have their vehicles towed.

 

He said the state government “wants you to do business but it does not want you to inconvenient others. Enough is enough. We want to make sure the Apapa expressway, all through to Ijora bridge is free of traffic”.

“We want to see that the road that leads to Tin Can is also free and that the police station at Ijora to Port is free of traffic. We want to see that tankers on Creek Road are evacuated so that the road can be free,” he added.

 

He added that “all shanties under Liverpool bridge should be cleared. We seek your cooperation to ensure that your people remove their vehicles from the road. Those people whose towing vehicles have broken down on the road should also remove them”.

According to him, “we want to fix Wharf road, Creek road and the Apapa-Oshodi expressway. We also want access to Beach land estate.  Vehicles obstructing residents’ movement to the estate should be removed.”
Opeifa said the taskforce, officials of the Kick against Indiscipline (KAI), the state Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA), and other government agencies had been fully mobilised for the onslaught on the tanker drivers if they failed to evacuate their vehicles from the road by Sunday midnight.

 

Last Sunday, Fashola visited Apapa area and expressed disgust at the high level of nuisance perpetrated by the tanker and trailer drivers and vowed to dislodge them to allow smooth flow of traffic in the area.

Also speaking, Sulaiman said all routes to Apapa must be free, adding that tanker drivers should not cultivate the habit of parking their vehicles on the road as his men were ready to swing into action.
But Kuye appealed to people trading under the bridge at Liverpool to vacate the area as the place was known to harbour criminal elements in the state.

 

He said tanker and trailers drivers should not endanger the lives of people in the area as Apapa served as one of the hub of business activities of the nation.

It was gathered that representatives of the various unions at the emergency meeting agreed to comply with the ultimatum issued by the government.

Source :Thisday

But Where is Happyboy?

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The Verdict according to Olusegun Adeniyi. Email, olusegun.adeniyi@thisdaylive.com.

 

The moment Yemi Akinsuyi saw me inside the premises of THISDAY Abuja office that looked more like a scene out of Iraq, she said, “oga, we cannot find Happyboy. He was inside the premises when the bomb exploded and now he is not picking his calls.”

Happyboy Ohije is one of those circulation boys you find in newspaper houses. They are called inserters since they help to collate the papers when it is being printed but they also run all manner of errands for people in the newsroom. With minimal education, Happyboy is very dutiful and everyone knew I was fond of him. He had come to me one day that he had a challenge concerning his education, a rather moving story but I liked the confidence with which he approached me and the manner in which he presented his problem. After offering him some little assistance, we became close, especially since he told everyone about my intervention.

Last Thursday, it was quite natural that I would be very worried about the fate of Happyboy. It turned out that he was sleeping when the bomb exploded and he eventually emerged from the rubble in a pool of his blood. But his was not the only miracle. Nurudeen, the security man seated at the exact spot where the suicide bomber exploded the vehicle is injured but alive. Incidentally, we did not know at the time and I recall one security man asking me: “Nurudeen’s wife has been calling me repeatedly and I cannot pick. What do I tell her?” His colleague by the gate, Christopher Sadiq was, however, not so lucky. Neither were some of the mechanics who had set shop behind THISDAY premises. They died along with a passer-by as the vehicle exploded.

The whole drama started for me at about 11.08 when I got a call from an hysterical Ms Avershima Ahenjir, an advert executive, saying, “they have just bombed our office.” According to what I was told when I reached the office, a vehicle came in to deliver tiles that was meant for some work at about 11am. While they were still trying to offload the tiles, the suicide bombers drove into the premises and the rest, as they say, is now history. But as everyone pointed out to me last Thursday, I would have been caught by the bombing but for the fact that I was preparing for my trip to Ibadan for the burial of my mother-in-law later that day.

I have watched on YouTube the video clip released by Boko Haram on how THISDAY was bombed, especially the moment when the vehicle entered our premises and exploded. Incidentally, the clip displayed my photograph along with my statement following the incident. I have also read their declaration of war on the media but I fail to understand why. The charge is that we have taken sides with the Nigerian state. But do we have any choice in this matter?

In an unusual backpage editorial last Sunday, the Trust newspaper put the issue in perspective: “A violent campaign to target and kill security agents, to overthrow the Constitution of the Federal Republic and ultimately to dismember Nigeria cannot be supported by the Nigerian news media, which derives a lot of its legitimacy, protection and privileges from the same Constitution. As for Nigeria itself, there cannot be a ‘Nigerian media’ if there is no Nigeria”.

That exactly is the position to which all journalists subscribe but many of us are becoming increasingly worried for our country. It is therefore incumbent on all men of goodwill who can intervene to end this cycle of violence to do so now in the interest of our corporate existence as a nation. As for THISDAY, in my 13 years here, we have seen some dark days and have come out stronger from all the tragedies. I remember our midnight plane crash right in the middle of Maiduguri desert in 2001 when the Board of Editors decided on a “Meet the Nation” tour; the fire incident that consumed our corporate headquarters in Apapa and the death of Mr. Godwin Agbroko. In each of these events, we were shattered and broken. But we never gave up the ideal for which we stand.

Where do we stand? When Bayero University Kano was attacked last Sunday, our thoughts and sympathy were with the victims of the attack and when Jalingo was attacked the next day, we took sides with the people. On the killing field that Maiduguri has become, we are one with the innocent people of that ancient city who are now besieged. We have made that very clear. But we have also been professional in our reportage while advocating dialogue with Boko Haram, believing that any and every aggrieved Nigerian deserves a hearing. What we oppose is violence and bloodletting of innocent people for no just cause. Even at this most difficult period, we remain persuaded that common sense will still prevail in the interest of our nation and its good people

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