Punch reports that there was confusion around the Forte Oil Petrol Station on 21 Road in the FESTAC Town area of Lagos State on Wednesday after officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps shot dead an alleged illegal fuel hawker, while three others sustained gunshot injuries.
Our correspondents gathered that the hawker, identified only as Emeka, was shot dead when the NSCDC men, said to be members of a task force on curbing activities of black marketers, invaded the area around 1pm. It was learnt that following an altercation between the task force and some fuel sellers, the NSCDC men opened fire on the fuel sellers.
While Emeka was said to have died on the spot, two others, identified as Smart Ogabor and Oladiran Atolagbe, were rushed to a hospital. It was gathered that there was panic in the area as motorists and other fuel buyers fled from the AP bus stop, where the filling station was located. It took efforts of policemen from the Area E Command to stop youths who wanted to stage a protest against the killing.
A resident, identified only as Bosun, said trouble started at the filling station when the NSCDC task force came to the area and wanted to seize fuel in jerrycans from the black marketers. He said:
“One of the NSCDC men killed the hawker. About four of them were shot, but only one of them died. After the killing, some youths wanted to start trouble, but policemen dispersed everyone. I had to leave the scene in a hurry. Trouble began when the hawkers prevented the task force men from seizing their fuel.”
An eyewitness, who identified herself only as Mercy, tweeted that the area had been thrown into confusion.
“I am looking at the deceased right now, but I cannot get close. He is dead. Policemen are on the ground. I learnt that a female officer of the NSCDC shot the man. He was trying to get fuel. Tyre is being burnt on the road. Trouble is brewing. The road has been blocked.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said the man was shot dead during “indiscriminate firing from NSCDC personnel” at the filling station. She said:
“About seven operatives of the NSCDC, in a Toyota Hilux and armed with AK 47 rifles, raided roadside petroleum product hawkers on the 21 Road, FESTAC. In the process, they fired sporadically injuring Ogabor, Atolagbe and Emeka and escaped to unknown destination.
“Emeka, an okada rider, was confirmed dead at Lagos Mainland General Hospital, Yaba, while his corpse was deposited at the mortuary for autopsy. The men of the Area E Command were called and the Area Commander is currently on the ground to restore normalcy to the area. The command has commenced investigation to identify the civil defence operatives.”
The spokesperson for the NSCDC Lagos State Command, Mefor Chibuzor, denied that the officers killed the man. He added that the NSCDC men only monitored stations selling above the pump price. He said:
“Our men went to FESTAC Town area for an operation. We went to the area to monitor filling stations selling above the pump price.”