Lagos — THERE was pandemonium in Apapa area of Lagos State, weekend, when some armed naval personnel and policemen from Area B Police Command clashed.
Two policemen allegedly sustained injuries, police patrol vehicles and an Armoured Personnel Carriers, APC, were allegedly destroyed.
Vanguard gathered that the incident occurred last Friday, after a team of policemen attached to the Lagos State Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences, accosted two naval ratings on a motorcycle riding against traffic at Trebo Roundabout and allegedly impounded their motorcycle.
The incident was said to have thrown the entire area into panic.
Eyewitnesses said the angry naval personnel ran back to their base and reinforced but on arriving Trebo Roundabout, the task force officials had gone.
The aggrieved naval personnel allegedly descended on a team of policemen attached to the Rapid Respond Squad, RRS, manning an APC stationed at the Roundabout.
An eyewitness, who spoke to Vanguard on the condition of anonymity, said "The policemen, in their bid to escape, drove the APC dangerously and out of the roundabout to the Area B Command Headquarters. Some of the naval personnel went after them. A police inspector attached to a leading new generation bank, on Liverpool Road, was attacked and beaten to pulp while his rifle was taken from him."
"The naval personnel on getting to Area B Command Headquarters, started shooting indiscriminately, sending motorists and residents scampering for safety.
"They smashed the windscreens of some patrol vehicles and one APC was completely demobilised as it tyres were destroyed.
"It took the intervention of the Area Commander, Ali Mohammed, who contacted the naval authorities for help."
When contacted, the Western Command information officer, Jerry Omodara, told Vanguard that the Navy did not attack the police area command office.
According to him, "What happened was that two naval ratings were on their way home on a motorbike after the close of work and policemen manning a check point at Point Road junction towards Liverpool stopped them. The ratings tried to explain that they were personnel closing from work and the policemen refused to let them go.
The scene where the incident occurred was close to the Hydrographic office of the Navy and a Rear Admiral who saw it happened sent a lieutenant to the scene.
The lieutenant pleaded with the policemen, but they refused to listen. The lieutenant then demanded that they all go to the Area B police Command Headquarters."
"But on their way to the Command, an RRS patrol van approached and hijacked the situation. The RRS policemen opened fire on the Navy and snatched the motorbike from them."