By Chiemelie Ezeobi
Pandemonium erupted today at Creek Road, Apapa, Lagos, when dozens of tanker drivers went on rampage over the death of one of their colleagues and set two banks of fire.
The aggrieved tanker drivers had targeted the banks over the death of their colleague, who was allegedly shot by a mobile policeman attached to one of the new generation banks in that area.
It was gathered that the mobile policeman had fired shots at the tanker drivers who as always had blocked the entrance of the bank.
According to eyewitness report, the tanker drivers had blocked the entrance of the bank like they were always wont to do, an action that drew the ire of the bank management.
The policemen who were attached to the bank at first approached them to give access to the bank’s customers to come in and carry out their financial activities.
When attempts to move them proved abortive, one of the policemen attached to the bank had shot sporadically into the air to scare them off.
However, one of the expended pellets hit one of the tanker drivers, who bled and died on the spot before help could come.
Angered by that move, the tanker drivers had regrouped and after setting the bank ablaze, went berserk and set the second bank ablaze.
Attempts by men of the Lagos State Fire Service, Iponri, who rushed to the scene, to put out the raging fire was rebuffed by the tanker drivers.
It was gathered that the firemen had to leave the area for fear of being brutalised by the tanker drivers and their fire trucks vandalised.
It took the effort of some soldiers deployed from the Signal Corps of the Â Nigerian Army (NA) to douse the situation and restore sanity to the area.
Their efforts were complemented by men of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) of the Lagos State Police Command led by their commander, Olatunji Disu, an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
While the soldiers doused the situation, the policemen were on ground to prevent some hoodlums, who had taken advantage of the situation, to loot the banks and vandalise some cars parked within the premises of the banks.
Also on ground afterwards to douse the fire were fire servicemen from the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and NPA mobile policemen.
Speaking on anonymity, a senior police officer said, “”Those tanker drivers are very irrational. When the policemen attached to the first Â bank shot at the tanker drivers, they regrouped and stormed the bank in anger.
“They were said to have first demanded that the policeman who shot their colleague be released to them. When their demands proved abortive, they took laws into their hands.
“They contributed fuel from their tanks and set the bank ablaze. The entire situation caused a stampede as both workers and bankers scrambled to escape from the back of the bank to safety.
“The drivers were still on rampage in the first bank when they heard that the policeman had taken refuge in the next bank.
“Armed with that information, they simply went over to the said bank and carried out same carnage, irrespective of the presence of innocent bystanders.”