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Sorrow, tears, trail soldiers, police clash

Posted by By Femi Babafemi, Christopher Oji, Philip Nwosu, Juliana Francis and Toyosi Ogunseye on 2005/10/06 | Views: 305 |

Sorrow, tears, trail soldiers, police clash


A day after the battle between soldiers and policemen in Lagos, like a general surveying the scene of destruction, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero lamented to reporters Wednesday that the destruction "is colossal", as he moved round what was left of the Area "C" Police headquarters at Surulere.

A day after the battle between soldiers and policemen in Lagos, like a general surveying the scene of destruction, the Inspector General of Police, Mr. Sunday Ehindero lamented to reporters Wednesday that the destruction "is colossal", as he moved round what was left of the Area "C" Police headquarters at Surulere.

As the inspection was going on, tears flowed freely among families of the dead, as investigations by Daily Sun showed that death toll rose to 10, after the battle which the army boys code-named "Monkey War."

Among victims who have been buried was a 38-year-old mother of five, Mrs. Sekinat Adejobi, whose husband allegedly left her five years ago, when she delivered a set of twins, who clocked five yesterday.

The woman was said to have left home to buy necessary items for the celebration of her twins’ birthday, when she was hit by a stray bullet.
Her neighbour, who spoke on condition of anonymity said Sekinat had not planned to leave home, adding: "Since her husband deserted her five years ago she had been the only one taking care of her five kids.

"She was selling moin-moin for a woman, who paid her N100 per day. She also did menial jobs like sweeping the streets and cleaning toilets. She was resting when the twins asked her if she wasn’t going to celebrate their birthday."

Sekinat, who was fondly called Iya ‘beji was buried at her home town, Ijemo, in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Another dead victim was a 21-year-old tailor, Muyideen Saka, who was out to buy some materials, when a bullet pierced through his back.

His cousin said Muyideen had just completed his apprenticeship, adding: "He used to stay with his friend at Shitta area. He was to buy gum-stay when they killed him. Nobody could save him because everybody was running as the soldiers were shooting anyhow. We had to bury him, at Atan cemetery that same day because he was a Muslim."
A commercial motorbike rider, Johnson Okoro, spoke about a young boy who was shot in his presence. He said: ‘If anybody had told me that the young boy was going to die like that, I would have disputed it. We were all together watching the fight when bullet came from nowhere and fell him. We all ran because we didn’t know if more bullets were flying around."

A sergeant who was stabbed in the head at Oshodi told Daily Sun that he had to dash under a trailer when he saw that the soldiers were out to kill him.

The sergeant, who simply identified himself as Nurudeen said he was attacked alongside another policeman, who has not been seen since he was captured by the soldiers.
Nurudeen said: "I didn’t even know there was a fight going on beween soldiers and policemen, when they captured me. I begged them, but they would not let me go. One of them brought out a jack knife and stabbed me on the head and blood gushed out."

"As I struggled to escape, I saw them giving the same treatment to a Corporal, I acted as if I was slumping and I suddenly dived under a trailer, rolled to the other side and fled."

A mobile policeman, who identified himself as Jonathan gave another version of what caused the crisis.
"We heard about a fight between policemen and soldiers at Ojuelegba that morning, at about 8am, but it was resolved. At about 9am, we saw some soldiers; they said the policemen, who fought their colleague took his belt. I told them we don’t use green belt. But because we are one and we wanted peace to reign, I asked them how much for the belt, so that I could pay, but they refused to say."

Jonathan said for close to three hours, they tried to stop the soldiers from invading the barracks, but they only left to reinforce, and also brought with them street urchins who were chanting: "No more police! No more police!!"

A policewoman told Daily Sun that the soldiers ransacked rooms at the barracks and carted away electronics gadgets.
There were also claims by some policemen that the soldiers seized their September salaries and carted away 15 brand new motorbikes.
The soldiers who were said to have been led by a Major allegedly used grenades during the attack.
Before Ehindero’s arrival, some policemen, who were angry that he had earlier described the crisis as minor, filled the walls with graffiti showing their disapproval.

Ehindero, however, said that he was misquoted, as he admitted that the destruction was enormous.
Ehindero who also called on Governor Bola Tinubu pointed out that what he said was that a very minor incident could lead to a major destruction.

He added that the police would need a lot of help and assistance to be able to recover from the destruction of their properites by the invading army.

In a swift response, Governor Tinubu promised that the State Government would take over the reconstruction of the burnt police station and barracks as well as assist all the displaced victims of the crisis.

The police boss said in spite of the wanton destruction visited on his officers and their wives, his men would continue to join hands with all members of the Armed Forces to "maintain law and order and protect lives and property" not only in Lagos but across the country.
He attributed the incident to high level frustration among the junior cadre in the armed forces.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.