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Apapa crisis: ‘Killer sergeant’ stabbed, battles for his life

     Police sergeant, who allegedly shot and killed a rapper driver on Wednesday for parking in front of Diamond Bank, yesterday undergone surgery as he battled to stay alive after being stabbed by an irate mob.
This was disclosed by the Lagos Police Commissioner Fatai Owoseni, while speaking with journalists at command headquarters, Ikeja.

Owoseni condemned the killing of the truck driver at Apapa.
The sergeant attached to the Police Mobile Force (PMF) 23, had reportedly shot dead a driver, identified simply as Azeez, who allegedly stabbed him for insisting that his truck be removed from the bank’s entrance.
Angered by the driver’s death, his colleagues went on the rampage, setting two financial institutions, Sterling and Diamond banks, on fire. They also allegedly vandalised property and vehicles.
According to Owoseni, the sergeant acted of his own accord and had been arrested. He said that despite the fact that the sergeant was stabbed; the gun given to him was not to be used at will.

He said: “It was an unfortunate incident. Like we said before, the policeman in question has been taken into custody and currently being guarded in the hospital because he was stabbed. As of this morning, he was taken to the theatre for surgery. That notwithstanding, the provisions of extant regulations of the police would be applied in dealing with the situation. 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. We appeal to the public that when things happen like that, the rule of law should be allowed to take its course.
“The police are at the forefront of cleansing institutional rot and we would 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 (IG) 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.

“I apologise to the public for the act of misconduct exhibited by that policeman. We would continue to ensure training and retraining of our personnel so that they discharge their responsibilities within the ambit of the law.”

On the extent of damage done to the banks, Owoseni said it would be hasty to give statistics, since the banks were still taking stocks.
He noted that the banks were in the position to say what they lost, “but from my assessment when I visited the place, no staff of the banks was hurt. They quickly evacuated. I can tell you that three vehicles were vandalised, and the banks were partially burnt.”

The police chief said persons arrested were being screened so that those innocent would not be punished unjustly.
He said: “There were some people with legitimate businesses there. Some of them are truck or motor boys that sleep in the park. But there are those who had no business there and only came to take advantage of the situation.

“They are hoodlums who came to infiltrate the area and get engaged in violence or looting. Those ones would be dealt with. We are still taking stocks and so, we cannot tell you right now, those who have been screened.

““In mob actions like that, there is every possibility that innocent people would be arrested. We do not want a situation were innocent people would be punished unjustifiably.”

The state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said that the police sergeant and 18 suspected hoodlums were arrested on Wednesday.

Famous-Cole said that the command received a distress call from the Chief Security Officer, CSO of a new generation bank located in the area.
He said: “The caller said hoodlums were trying to take laws into their hands by setting the bank ablaze following the shooting of a tanker driver by a policeman attached to the bank after an altercation.”
Famous-Cole said operatives of the command including the Area Commander Apapa, the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) and other security agents quickly rushed to the scene to take charge of the situation.

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