Lagos Police Command Arrests 14 More Suspects Over APC Rally Mayhem

Lagos Police Command Arrests 14 More Suspects Over APC Rally Mayhem

Acting Lagos State Police Commissioner Imohimi Edgal
Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr Imohimi Edgal

Lagos State Police Command has arrested 14 more suspects over the violence at the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign kick-off at the Skypower Grounds, Ikeja Government Reservation Area (GRA) on Tuesday.

The arrests brought the number of suspects being held by the State Police Command to 16.

Giving the update on the issue on Wednesday, Commissioner of Police (CP) Imohimi Edgal said the matter is being handled by the State Criminal Investigative and Intelligence Department (SCIID), Panti, Yaba, Lagos mainland.

The Auditor of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), Mustapha Adekunle (a.k.a. Seigo), is wanted by the police over the matter.

Adekunle, the Command said, should report to the police in his own interest.

He was declared wanted on Tuesday for “attempting to disrupt a rally organised by the Lagos APC to kick-off the campaign of its governorship candidate Babajide Sanwo-Olu  and other candidates ahead of the elections billed for March 2.”

Adekunle described the police action as a “frame-up”.

CP Imohimi said those who disrupted the rally were fighting for the leadership of their union.

He said: “It was purely intra-union crisis. I hear that their state chairman is exiting soon. I learnt that there are strong players who are fighting to take over from him.”

Police spokesman Chike Oti, a Chief Superintendent (CSP), confirmed to The Nation the arrest of 14 more suspects.

He said: “Adekunle is still wanted. Although we have arrested 14 more people in connection to the crisis, making 16 suspects. The command is not relenting in its quest to apprehend all those involved in the skirmishes. We are going after all of them. At the end of the investigations, all those involved will be charged to court.

“In the best interest of Seigo (Adekunle), he should report himself to the police.”

The Lagos State chapter of the APC has apologised over the disruption of its rally by hoodlums in which two lives were lost and three journalists injured.

Its spokesman Joe Igbokwe told a news conference at the party secretariat yesterday:  “We regret, as a party, what happened. We never envisaged that such will happen.

“We are not happy to announce to you that there were people who sustained injury yesterday during the stampede and fracas and we confirmed that somebody from  Lagos Island died. We sympathise with the family members and relation of the family because that person was a committed member of the party.

“I understand that some journalists sustained injuries. I called this press conference to apologize. We went there to have fun but some people just turned it into a ground for their funny agenda and we regret it.”

Igbokwe attributed the fracas to the fight between two factions of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).

He said: “They brought the issue they were supposed to settle in the office to the campaign ground and nearly put everybody into trouble, but we thank God.

“We therefore use this platform to tell you that APC is a decent party, manned by decent men and women. We in Lagos are on a mission to build a vibrant nation and state.”

Igbokwe said the party deliberately held the rally where a police station is located.

“We never knew that some people infiltrated that place and tried to wreak havoc in a well-planned programme. Our promise is that this kind of thing will never happen again. The venue had only one entrance and this we will put into consideration next time.

Commending the police for bringing the situation under control within a short time, Igbokwe stated: “I want to salute the police; I saw for the first time police at work because they were provoked beyond imagination that they would have been forced to apply maximum force to deal with those boys but they did not.

“They managed the situation well. I commend the police for what they did and our security committee and other agents of government that were there. If I didn’t have confidence in NPF, yesterday (Tuesday), my confidence in them grew to the highest level. They were dynamic and careful not to deploy maximum force. If they were careless, they would have brought some of them down.”

Scores of sympathisers besieged EKO Hospital, Ikeja, where NURTW State Treasurer Musiliu Akinsanya (a.k.a. MC Oluomo) is recuperating.

Akinsanya was allegedly stabbed in the head, stomach and hand at the rally.

A police vehicle was parked in front of the hospital and some policemen were seen interrogating those going into the hospital.

Those who do not have any valid reason to visit were turned back.

This newspaper was told that Akinsanya “cannot speak with anybody now”.

His aide, Buhari Jimoh, said doctors warned that people should stay away from him to allow them to do their job.

“He’s responding well to treatment. The doctors called for restriction of people coming to see how he’s faring. Such call is understandable – to allow the doctors to concentrate on their treatment and to ensure he (Oluomo) rests well,” he said.

The Nation Group Political Editor Emmanuel Oladesu and Ibile Television cameraman Abiodun Yusuf, who were hit by stray bullets at the rally, have been treated and discharged from hospital.