Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, Monday condemned the alleged attack of policemen on duty by naval personnel at the Apapa area of the state last Friday.
Both naval and police personnel had engaged themselves in a gun duel in Apapa, which would have escalated to a full blown war but for the intervention of top hierarchy of both forces.
Trouble started when some policemen on duty at Trebor roundabout in Apapa had arrested the motorcycle of a naval personnel for violating the ban on commercial motorcycles in the state by the state government.
Following this, an argument ensued, which later escalated to fisticuffs. The naval personnel was said to have called for backup from his base and they stormed the Area B Command, where they engaged the police in a gun duel.
The naval personnel said: “Some naval personnel in mufti drove their motorcycles in restricted areas against the laws of the land. They were accosted by policemen because no one is above the law.
“In my house, policemen who work with me and who do not have other means of transportation apart from motorcycles have been told to stay back where is more convenient.
“All of us have a responsibility (the army, police, navy and even residents) to ensure that this law that is being enforced achieves the maximum aim it was meant for.
“The police did not make the law but the state government. Our responsibility is to enforce the laws that have been created. Whatever intimidation will not stop us until we get the desired result.”
He added: “On the side of the police, I took charge of the operation and I ensured that our men did not respond to what was happening. We kept our cool simply because I know that I have a working synergy with the authorities of the navy.
“But I have to warn, there is no body that has monopoly of violence. We also have armoury. For God's sake, these are not chicken cabinets. We have arms stocked too.
“We are talking already with the naval headquarters at my own level. I have sent my report to the Inspector General of Police and hope that personnel in a democratic environment who decided to take laws into their hands will be brought to book.”
When contacted, the Communication Information Officer, Western Naval Command (WNC), Lieutenant Commander Jerry Omodara, said they were on top of the situation.
He said investigations into the cause of the fight was ongoing, assuring that those found culpable would be brought to book.