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Lagos task force over-powers and arrests 200 federal task force officials over traffic incident

By News Express on 29/05/2014

Views: 3,632

Seeing the way the men were herded into Black Maria and later made to sit on the bare floor as they were paraded before newsmen, one would think they were criminals. But no – these were no fewer than 200 officials of the Subsidy Reinvestment and Empowerment Programme/Federal Road Maintenance Agency (SURE-P/FERMA) Task Force arrested yesterday by the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental Sanitation and Special Offences.

The ordeal of the federal workers started when the Lagos Task Force swooped on them in their training ground at the old Lagos toll gate and promptly took them to the headquarters of the Lagos State Police Command in Ikeja.

Trouble started for the men when officials of the Lagos Task Force tried to arrest a vehicle plying the BRT lane at Ketu area but the driver diverted the vehicle into the premise of Federal Task Force on the way to Alausa.

“In the process of trying to get the vehicle back, officials of the Federal Task Force allegedly mobilised and attacked the policemen with planks, bottles and beat up the few officers, inflicting injuries on them,” says a Vanguard report.

“The Lagos State Task Force, led by Chief Superintendent of Police Bayo Sulaiman, went for a reinforcement and stormed the area with armed policemen, leading to mayhem. The policemen used teargas to disperse and overwhelm men of the Federal Task Force, leading to arrest of over 200 of them,” the report adds.

Speaking to newsmen, Sulaiman said the Federal Task Force attacked his men with dangerous weapons, stressing that there was no way a taskforce could take over the function of the Police.

He said: “They beat up our men and held them hostage. We will not allow them to take over our function. We arrested close to 100 of them. If we allow this to go unchecked, it will be worse next time.”

Sulaiman said his men were attacked with bottles as one of them was beaten with plank and serious injuries inflicted on him while other officers were also wounded.

When interrogated, the driver of the vehicle that sparked off the trouble, Timothy Uko, said he did not know any member of the Federal Task Force but that he decided to park close to their office and beg the policemen who arrested him in order not to create traffic snarl. Uko was allegedly beaten up by the policemen for fuelling the crisis.

“One of the Federal Task Force officials, who was on queue, collapsed and was rushed to the hospital by the taskforce officials,” says Vanguard, adding:

“Most of the federal taskforce officials, who spoke with our reporter, said they were wrongly arrested and that they were not among those who attacked the policemen.

“One of the leaders of the Federal Task Force, Aminu Kazeem, said he was inside the premises when the policemen stormed the area and arrested him and his colleagues, but could not tell if some of his men attacked policemen.

“Mr. Adeyemi Adeshina, an engineer, who claimed to be the Deputy Director in the Federal Road Maintenance Agency (FERMA) and working at the task force yard, said he was inside when the policemen came and arrested him.”

•Photo shows the federal task force officials being paraded before newsmen by the police . . . yesterday in Lagos.

Source News Express

Posted 29/05/2014 5:26:53 PM





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