The commandant-general of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Ade Abolurin, came close to being shot Friday by a rampaging police officer who challenged him for conducting anti-vandalism inspection at sites manned by the police, a spokesperson for the corps said.
Mr. Abolurin was in Lagos for an inspection but managed to escape after the officer, a police inspector, threatened to open fire on his team for daring to conduct the checks at the site, the corps said.
The inspection team comprised officials from the army, the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission and the Office of the Attorney-General.
The team were members of a government committee on anti-vandalism constituted by the government, and chaired by the civil defence boss.
A spokesperson for civil defence, Emmanuel Okeh, said the attack occurred at Ikorodu, Lagos after the arrest of suspected vandals and oil thieves who were in possession of petroleum products in jerry cans.
Mr. Okeh said those arrested contacted the police, soon after the arrival of the commandant general and his team, a police team reached the scene in an unmarked danfo bus.
He said a police inspector, brandishing an AK47 riffle, challenged Mr. Abolurin and made it clear to him the police were in charge, and he had no business visiting the site.
Attempts by members of the committee to caution the officer was rebuffed, Mr. Okeh said.
But the police denied that its officers attacked or threatened the commandant-general.
A spokesperson for the Lagos State police, Lelme Kolle, told PREMIUM TIMES it could not be true that a police officer would attack a convoy of armed civil defence personnel and soldiers.
“It is a complete lie. It is not true. It is a concocted story,” said Mr. Kolle.
Mr. Kolle said a police anti-vandalism team only stopped a convoy of 10 cars that was headed to the site and sought to know whether the occupants had cleared with the police before visiting the site.
Asked why a commandant –general of the Civil Defence would require police clearance to carry out his statutory anti-vandalism assignments, Mr. Kolle said it was possible the police operatives did not know that Mr. Abolurin was on of the visiting team.
The civil defence has come under attacks in the past at the hands overzealous police officers.
In 2013, two personnel of the anti-vandal squad of the Lagos state command of NSCDC- Gabriel Adaji and Innocent Akegbe- were shot dead by the police.
“It is however unclear if the suspected officer was working on a written script by a superior authority or just acting in his own capacity as a vandal in uniform,” Civil Defence spokesperson, Mr. Okey, said in a statement.
“What is however clear is that, this is the umpteenth time that officers and men of the corps has been brazenly harassed, molested, assassinated or maimed by officers of the Nigeria police in recent time in the cause of carrying out their legitimate assignments.”