On 6 August, Mr Emeka Ohazuruike, manager of a Lagos branch of Springbank Plc, was stabbed to death in Lagos. Springbank is one of the three – along with Afribank and Bank PHB – that were taken over by the Central Bank of Nigeria the previous day.
Details of the circumstances in which he was killed are still being pieced together.
Some initial accounts had said Ohazuruike, manager of the Ebutte-Metta branch of Springbank, had gone to the home of a man (names withheld), resident in the Agboju area of Lagos and indebted to the bank, to prevail on him to pay up his well overdue debt, also in view of the sudden nationalisation of the bank by the apex bank. The accounts had said it was while there that a dispute arose and the debtor’s in-law, identified as Kenneth Oji, stabbed the banker to death.
However, a later and more definite account says the banker and the debtor were family friends and also neighbours at Finiger Estate, Satellite Town, and that the banker was stabbed to death inside his own house.
According to this account, the debtor had come with his brother-in -law, Kenneth, to Ohazuruike’s apartment and had breakfast with him. It is further said the banker, not suspecting that anything was amiss, left the visitors in his siting room and went inside to take his bath. The account says it was while he was in the bathroom, that Kenneth went in and attacked him with knives.
Thereafter, Kenneth escaped through the kitchen door, scaled a high fence and fled. However, neighbours alerted the police, who immediately swung into action; they tracked the fleeing Kenneth down at a motor park at Mazamaza, where he and the debtor were about to board a bus to Anambra State.
Meanwhile, the fatally wounded man had died before he could get to a hospital.
Some sources said the debt at the centre of the incident was over N11 million (about 73,400 USD), and that the debtor had previously issued three dud cheques to Springbank, but this could not be confirmed from the bank.
The Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Samuel Jinadu, confirmed the incident to newsmen. He said the police had taken both Kenneth and the alleged debtor into custody.
[THIS IS AN UPDATED VERSION OF OUR INITIAL REPORT. IT MAY BE FURTHER UPDATED IF MORE DETAILS ARE AVAILABLE].
On 27 March, the Police, Army, Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and other security agencies patrolled the major streets of Lagos on motorbikes, vans and armoured personnel carriers, in an operation designed to demonstrate their preparedness for any security challenges that may arise around the general elections in April.
According to the Public Relations Officer of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr Samuel Jinadu (DSP), the show of force was carried out to reassure the public of security and intimidate anyone who may want to engage in electoral violence. He said: “We are sending out a message to the public that the police will be around to protect citizens and fight criminals…We don’t want any crisis in Lagos before, during and after the elections. All trouble makers, ballot box snatchers, those with criminal tendencies and in possession of illegal arms should relocate from Lagos. We are on top of security in Lagos”.
The Commander of 9 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, based in Ikeja Cantonment, Brigadier General Sanusi Muazu, explained that the combined show of force was to assess the joint capability of the various agencies. He said with what he saw during the exercise, “we are ready to contain any situation during the elections”.
The security agencies particularly emphasized their presence in such areas as Mushin, Idi-Araba, Agege, Ajegunle and others which had acquired a reputation for violence from previous polls.
On 15 March, the Lagos State Police Command reported that it arrested 169 armed robbery suspects in the state in the four months from 1 November 2010 to 15 March 2011. Police statistics also show that 114 murder cases were recorded in the state over the same period.
The Commissioner of Police in charge of the command, Mr. Yakubu Alkali, who released the statistics at his maiden media chat, stated that contrary to the widespread belief that crimes were on the increase in the state, the statistics compiled by the Command show that “the crime rate in this state has become low”.
The statistics show that there were 25 robbery incidents in the state in the four months, 46 armed robbers were killed during different encounters with policemen, while eight policemen also lost their lives. Furthermore, the police recovered 492 stolen vehicles.
Alkali said that the police arrested the robbery suspects and recovered the stolen vehicles in different parts of the state including Alagbado, Akowonjo, Agege, Lagos Island, Orile, Surulere, Victoria Island, Ikorodu, Idimu, Ebutte Meta, Meiran and Ikeja.
The Commissioner said the command was making significant progress in stopping crime and arresting criminals. He stressed that, under his leadership, the police is fully prepared and well-motivated to safeguard the lives and property of all residents of the state. He however appealed to members of the public to “always volunteer useful information that will assist the police to rid the state of criminal elements and their sponsors”.