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University students, Police clash in Lagos: Two feared dead

On 24 August, students of Lagos State University (LASU) who were protesting the death of one of their colleagues in a motor accident, clashed with policemen on the multiple-lane Ikorodu Road in Lagos, leading to the death of a second student.

Reports said trouble started when a vehicle killed a student at LASU’s satellite campus in the Anthony Area of Ikorodu Road.

Protesting the death of their colleague, many students trooped out and barricaded the ever-busy road, causing a massive traffic hold-up. The city’s ubiquitous hoodlums soon joined the chaos. As motorists struggled to escape the hold-up, the students and hoodlums attacked them, wounding some of the fleeing drivers and damaging their vehicles.

Alerted of the degenerating situation, the police quickly drafted its men to the area to stop further violence and restore order. Those policemen walked into a chaotic environment, and soon clashed with the students and hoodlums.  

The Police Public Relations Officer for Lagos State, Mr. Samuel Jinadu, told some newsmen that the only student who died was the one killed in the accident that sparked the trouble. But some other sources said another young man, believed to be a student, was also killed in the clash, with several others wounded.

Jinadu however said the situation had since been brought under control.

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Spring Bank manager Emeka Ohazuruike stabbed to death in Lagos

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].

Police kill 7 suspected armed robbers in Lagos State

On 25 April, seven members of an armed robbery gang were killed in a shoot-out with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) of the police, at Challenge Bus Stop, Mushin, Lagos.

According to the Police spokesman in Lagos State, Deputy Superintendent Samuel Jinadu: “In a gun battle that ensued between detectives from the State Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) and a notorious robbery gang, a police corporal was shot in the abdomen and is presently in surgery”.

“Seven of the robbers, who came in a Honda Accord Academy car, were killed while three escaped with standby motorcycles”. 

“Items recovered from the robbers include: one AK-47 rifle with five magazines loaded with 85 rounds of live ammunition; one berretta pistol with 14 rounds of live ammunition; one pump action with 33 live cartridges; two locally-made pistols and the Honda Accord Academy car they came in”.

Jinadu said citizens should be rest assured that the police is fully determined to curb crime in the state.

Four police officers shot dead by robbers in Lagos State

On 22 and 23 April, four officers of the Lagos State Police Command were shot dead by suspected armed robbers during two separate gun duels in the state.

On 22 April, two police officers – an Inspector and a Corporal – were killed and two others injured in a gun battle with armed criminals along Agege Motor Road in Mushin, Lagos State. Reports say that at a pin-down point in the area, a gang which had earlier snatched a car, encountered the police and, after a fierce gun fight, a police inspector and a corporal lay dead while two other policemen were wounded.

On 23 April (Easter eve), the Divisional Police Officer of Alakuko Division, Mr Joseph Olatomokun, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), was killed by armed criminals within the Alakuko area. Olatomokun had received a distress call that some hoodlums were operating somewhere within his division, and he rushed down to the area with his unit. However, the hoodlums opened fire on Olatomokun and his team as they were approaching, killing the DPO and a Corporal.

Confirming the incidents to newsmen, the Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Samuel Jinadu, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), said the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State, Mr. Suleiman Abba, had ordered the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID) to comb the entire state and fish out the killers. He also urged members of the public to look out for anybody with bullet wounds and report to the police.

Fire at residence of Pastor Tunde Bakare, CPC’s vice presidential candidate

Pastor TUNDE BAKARE, Presidential running mate, CPC

On 22 April, the residence of the vice presidential candidate of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), Pastor Tunde Bakare, in Lagos, was gutted by fire; but no life was lost.

Family members and neighbours at the building located on Awuse Estate, Opebi, Lagos, said the fire started at about 4pm. No one could not identify what caused it or where exactly it started from.

They said as soon as they noticed the smoke and flames, they alerted the fire service department, but before fire-fighters arrived, an entire section of the building had been burnt. However, the fire-men and neighbours eventually put out the fire.

The police public relations officer, Lagos State Police command, Mr. Samuel Jinadu, told newsmen that the cause of the fire was not yet known. He however confirmed that policemen had been drafted to Pastor Bakare’s residence to ensure security.

Police arrest 20-year-old woman with 3 rifles and ammunition in Lagos

On 11 April, the Lagos State Police Command paraded a 20-year-old woman, Mariam Owuke, who was allegedly found in possession of three rifles and 124 pieces of live ammunition. The spokesman of the Command, Mr Samuel Jinadu, said the woman was a member of a five-man robbery syndicate operating in different parts of the country.

Jinadu said the woman was arrested at the Mile 2 Motor Park in the Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos, while attempting to take the guns to Koko in Delta State. He said a motorcyclist who brought her to the park, told drivers there that he was suspicious of the contents of the woman’s bag.

Said Jinadu: “When the bag was searched by the police…it was discovered to be containing two AK-47 rifles with 65 rounds and also one LAR Russian rifle with another 59 rounds of ammunition”.

He further explained that: “Under interrogation, she claimed that her long-time boyfriend, now at large, gave them to her to transport to Delta State and deliver to someone there. She said that he was waiting to collect them in Koko. She was handed over to the state Special Anti-Robbery Squad, Ikeja, for further investigations. Through her confession, three others were arrested”.

Also paraded by the police were six other suspects, said to belong to two robbery gangs operating in Lagos and its environs. The police spokesman said three of the suspects were members of a gang that specialised in stealing vehicles from public car parks, including those of worship centres in Lagos. He said they were arrested while attempting to sell a stolen car at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that arms and the ammunition seized from the gang, as well as the car they had stolen (marked  DQ 525 GGE) were all displayed to journalists.

2011 Elections: Police, Army, other agencies stage “Show of Force” in Lagos

Police on Patrol in Lagos

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.

Another University of Lagos student shot dead

Main entrance to University of Lagos

On 25 February, less than a fortnight after the Valentine night shooting that left at least one student of the University of Lagos dead, another student of the same university was again shot dead.

Ayodeji Sonoiki, 22, identified as an extra year student in the Department of History and Strategic Studies, was killed by unidentified gunmen.

According to some local sources, Ayodeji had gone drinking with his cousins at a pub known as Ben Johnson, located at the Iwaya area of Yaba, Lagos. Some armed men came into the pub and fired several shots into the air. While some people ran for safety and others lay flat on the floor, Sonoiki, apparently oblivious of the dangerous situation, allegedly ignored the armed men. One student is reported to have said: “The gunmen thought he was calling their bluff and so they shot him”.

Described as an easygoing young man, Ayodeji was the former treasurer of the Historical Society of Nigeria, University of Lagos chapter. His friends say he was to have graduated from the university last year but had some problems with his final year project. 

Spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Mr. Samuel Jinadu, said the police were investigating the death.

Five feared killed as factions of NURTW clash in Lagos

On 21 February, no fewer than five people were reported dead in Lagos, following a clash between rival factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) at Iju, on the outskirts of the state. However, the Lagos Police Command said it had confirmed only one person dead, with three others seriously injured.

The clash started on Sunday 20 February at about 10.30 a.m. and lasted till the early hours of 21 February when the deaths and injuries were recorded. Guns, machetes and other dangerous weapons were reported to have been freely used.

The police said they had arrested several suspects who would be charged to court over the incident, after further investigations at the State Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti Street, Lagos.

Lagos State Police Command’s spokesman, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Samuel Jinadu said: “There was a report that street urchins at Iju area were fighting. One of them was macheted. He was rushed to the hospital with others, but he died in the process. The other faction came on a revenge mission. Five vehicles were damaged during the clash. The rioting gang smashed their windscreens. The cause of the clash was a battle for supremacy between the two factions of the transport union in Toyin Street and Ishaga area of Iju”.

“We are on top of the situation and we have arrested several persons over the matter”, he said

Armed robbers raid 2 banks in Lagos; police say they failed

On 17 February, gunmen raided the district branches of two first generation banks in Ebute-Metta, Lagos.

According to local sources, the bandits numbering about 12, stormed the banks in two unmarked Toyota vehicles at about 2am. Their sporadic gun shots woke up many residents of the area, some of whom frantically made distress calls to the police at Denton division.

Report say the robbers succeeded in entering only one of the banks before the arrival of both mobile and conventional policemen, riding in two Armored Personnel Carriers (APCs). The early arrival of the policemen stopped them from breaking through the bullet-proof doors of the banks, as they fled the scene on sighting the APCs.

The spokesman of the Lagos State Police Command, Mr Samuel Jinadu, said one of the robbers’ operational vehicles was captured after a hot pursuit. But he could not confirm whether there was any arrest, as he said he had not yet been properly briefed by the Divisional Police Officer under whose jurisdiction the incident occurred. Jinadu however described the robbers’ operation as a failure.

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