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    Monday, March 31, 2014

    One dies as police, OPC clash in Lagos

    Members of the Oodua People’s Congress and policemen clashed at the Tolu Police Division, Ajegunle, Lagos State on Saturday evening.

    One member of the OPC, identified as Dauda Apampa, lost his life, while a police corporal, identified simply as Emeka, sustained gunshot in the incident.

    PUNCH Metro learnt that the fracas was caused by a disagreement over the release of an unidentified man from OPC’s custody.

    It was learnt that prior to the fracas, the man at the centre of the disagreement had been arrested by OPC men on Friday for allegedly raping an 18-year-old girl.

    The OPC Lagos State Governor, Wasiu Afolabi, told our correspondent on the telephone that after his men had arrested the alleged rapist, policemen forcefully released him from their custody.

    He said, “A young lady, who sells amala, reported that she was raped by one guy and we arrested him. The guy’s mother ran down to the police station and policemen came shooting and released the guy from our custody.

    “The following day, which was Saturday, three OPC men went to have a discussion with policemen at the station in a bid to settle the misunderstanding, but in the process, things went out of hand and Apampa was shot and killed.

    “After the killing, I had a chat with the policemen at the station and they claimed that my men were the first to attack and that they (police) shot in self-defence. They said a corporal was also shot in the fracas.

    “But when I went to the hospital to see the so-called officer, I discovered that the police were only trying to cover up their crime because the policeman in question only had a minor injury.”

    The OPC boss urged the government to look into the excesses of policemen, especially those attached to Tolu Police Station, as they had become notorious for such.

    “I have told my boys not to retaliate. OPC men are gallant and if they decide to retaliate, there will be too much blood,” he said.

    A police source at the station, however, said they went to effect the release of the alleged rapist because they learnt that OPC men were torturing him.

    The source said they were trying to avoid a repeat of the Ejigbo torture which led to the death of a woman last year.

    He said, “The case was not rape. An 18-year-old mother and a man had sex on the promise that the man would pay her N7, 000. After sex, the man refused to pay. Two days later, the lady approached the guy and told him to pay up, but the guy beat her up and chased her away.

    “The lady then reported the matter to OPC men and they marched down to arrest the man. They took the man to a location and tortured him for many hours. When policemen got wind of the situation, they stormed the place on Friday and rescued the man.

    “The man was then taken to the station where he was given necessary documents to take to a nearby hospital for treatment, while the 18-year-old lady came to the station to write a statement.”

    The police source stated that a day after the man was rescued, the disgruntled OPC men, wielding guns and charms, stormed the station and threatened to burn it down.

    The police source said, “They came to our station and started shooting. They said the police had no right to seize a suspect from their custody.

    “The OPC guys were feeling invincible because they had put on charms for metaphysical protection and they started shooting. They shot a corporal, Emeka, and when we saw that we had no choice, we fired back.

    “In the process, one of the OPC boys was also shot. He died, but his corpse has been taken away by his colleagues.”

    Police Public Relations Officer, Ngozi Braide, who confirmed the incident to our correspondent on the telephone, said investigations into the shooting had commenced.

    Braide said the policeman, who fired the killer shot, had been arrested to allow for objective investigation.

    She said, “The policemen said they were under attack and shot in self-defence. However, the policeman who fired the killer shot has been arrested. Also, the corporal, who was shot by the OPC men is recuperating at a hospital.

    “Normalcy has since returned to the area and security has been beefed up to prevent a recurrence at the station.”

    Meanwhile, our correspondent learnt that the slain 45-year-old OPC man had been buried.


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