Apapa Crisis: Lagos Police Disown Killer Cop

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Chiemelie Ezeobi

Following last Wednesday’s crisis that engulfed the branches of Diamond and Sterling Banks in the Apapa area of Lagos State, the state Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni, thursday distanced the force from the actions of the ‘killer’ cop.

The killer cop, whose identity the police are yet to reveal, had shot and killed a tanker driver during an altercation that was exacerbated by the deceased’s refusal to move his vehicle from the bank’s premises.

The death of the driver at the hands of the errant Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), who was simply identified as a sergeant attached to the Police Mobile Force (PMF) 23, had thrown Apapa into chaos.

Irked by the driver’s death, his colleagues had gone on rampage, setting the two banks ablaze and vandalised properties, despite the fact that the policeman had alleged his actions was in self-defence.

Owoseni, in an interview with THISDAY thursday, said after an on-the-spot assessment of the scene last Wednesday and given the information gathered from eyewitness account, the sergeant acted “on his own.”

Reiterating the fact that the suspect has been taken into custody, he said despite that the policeman 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, Ibrahim Idris, 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 said banks, Owoseni said it would be hasty to give a total breakdown of the loss accrued since the banks were still taking stocks.

He said: “The banks are in the position to say what the 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.”
On the condition of the 18 persons arrested after the arson he said persons they were being screened so that those innocent would not be punished unjustly.”

Meanwhile, on the taking over of the roads by tankers and trucks, which has caused considerable traffic along that Apapa axis, he said the police and other sister agencies are working to ameliorate the situation.