Scores injured as youths invade council secretariat in Lagos

at 08:10 AM, 16/07/2014 (4 years ago)
(8 | Newbie) (m)

Amuwo Odofin Local Government was, Monday, turned into a theatre of war following sporadic gunshots from suspected members of the Community Policing Youth Vanguard, who attacked everyone in sight.

Several persons, among whom were officials of the local council as well as visitors sustained injuries in the process.

Reports said trouble started after officials of the Environmental Task Force attached to the local government, who had gone to demolish some illegal structures around Alakija area were attacked by suspected members of the Community Policing Youth Vanguard.

Later in the evening, members of the group, numbering about a 100 reportedly stormed the premises of the local government with dangerous weapons such as guns, bottles and knives and attacked people there.

When Vanguard visited the scene, yesterday, expended bullet shells and broken bottles littered the premises, with parts of the building vandalized.

Victims recount ordeal

One of the injured staff of the Environmental Task Force who gave his name as Gideon Ovat, said: “At about 3pm, while we were carrying out our duties at Third Gate, around Alakija bus stop, where we went to demolish illegal structures, we were attacked by some young men numbering about 50.

“They attacked us with bottles, knives, sticks and cutlasses. I sustained injuries on my hand in my attempt to block a machete that was targeted at my head. We narrowly escaped being lynched.”

Another injured council staff, Akeem Adeoye, said: “At about 5pm, I was inside the council, when I heard sounds of gunfire. It was like a battlefield, as everyone ran in different directions for safety. Before I knew it, one of the hoodlums came from nowhere and hit me with a bottle on my head and blood started gushing out. I can’t remember what happened next because I passed out. I thank God I am alive to share my ordeal.”

They were after me, says Adewale, LG boss

Chairman of the Local Government, Comrade Ayodele Adewale, told Vanguard that but for the bravery of men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC there would have been many casualties.

Adewale said members of the group were advancing towards his office, apparently with intent to kill him, alleging that instead of Policemen from Area ‘E’ Command, Festac to contain the situation, they were “romancing the invaders.”

According to him, “men from the Community Policing Youth Vanguard, numbering about 100 invaded the premises of the local council with guns, bottles and other instruments of destruction, attacking everyone within the premises and advancing towards my office possibly coming to kill me.

“Several people sustained grave injuries. It took the gallant efforts of men of the NSCDC attached to the local council to push the hoodlums outside the premises, though some members of staff had already been wounded.”

“Policemen from the Area E Command did not disperse the hoodlums around the premises. Instead of effecting their arrest,the policemen were romancing them. Eventually, we got the intervention of Rapid Response Squad, RRS, from Alausa, Ikeja and OP MESA that dispersed the hoodlums and cordoned off 41 Road, thereby preventing further attacks.”

Age-long battle with Area Commander

The local government boss, attributed what he described as nonchalant attitude of the policemen from Area ‘E’ Command to the age-long battle he had with the Area Commander, Mr Dan Okoro.

According to him, “I have been having an age-long battle with the Area ‘E’ Commander, Festac Town, ACP Dan Okoro over a group he formed called Community Policing Youth Vanguard, which is not backed by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Police Service Act.

“We have written several letters to the Commissioner of Police and other agencies informing them of the nefarious and destructive attitude of members of this group, as well as for the need to investigate their activities but to no avail.”

Police react

Vanguard, however, gathered that some of the invaders were arrested by the Area ‘E’ Command. Sources at the command told Vanguard that aggrieved traders whose shops were demolished and wares destroyed were responsible for the invasion.

Police sources also denied that the group was responsible for the attack on council members, informing rather that the clash at the local government secretariat was between traders and members of the Neighbourhood Watch .

Efforts to reach the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, on the issue failed.

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