Motorists and pedestrians, who plied the Obanikoro end of Ikorodu Road around 8:30am on Thursday, watched a free show as a mini-drama ensued after a policeman allegedly slapped a soldier for driving on the lane designated for the Bus Rapid Transit.
According to a witness, who identified himself as Peter, the soldier was driving on the BRT lane when an official of Lagos State Traffic Management Authority, accosted him for driving on designated lane.
He said, “There was a bit of a traffic jam. So, the soldier decided to use the BRT lane in order to beat the traffic when suddenly, a LASTMA official and some policemen went to accost him. Of course, the soldier felt he was superior to them and spoke to them in a condescending manner and the policeman decided to give him a slap.
“Immediately, the soldier fell and we don’t even know if he fainted or was just lying down. After sometime, the soldier woke up and made a call to his colleagues.”
Peter added that the incident intensified the already heavy vehicular traffic from Obanikoro to Idiroko Bus Stop as people gathered to watch the drama unfold.
PUNCH METRO gathered that some minutes later, Commander 9th Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Ikeja, Lagos, Brig.-Gen. Sanusi Muazu, intervened and took the soldier away.
However, another witness, who declined to give his name, said after Muazu had left, some armed soldiers came to the scene but by then all the policemen and LASTMA officials had left.
Another witness, who spoke to our correspondent on the phone said,“The soldier did not deserve to be beaten like that. Don’t Police vehicles pass the BRT lane as well? It is only in a country like Nigeria that policemen and soldiers are hostile towards one another.”
However, another witness maintained that it was the soldier who first slapped the policeman, adding that the policeman did not retaliate.
He said,“The soldier who was driving a car with registration number Lagos KE 507 EKY came out of the vehicle and head butted the policeman. The policeman however, did not retaliate. He called on men of the Task Force to come and tow the soldier’s vehicle.
“The soldier then pretended to have fainted after he had called his colleagues on the phone to come to his aid.
“As he was doing that, a large number of armed soldiers were spotted approaching the scene. The remaining policemen at the scene had to beat a retreat to avert more trouble while they abandoned one of their towing vans on the BRT lane.
“As the soldiers approached, passers-by had to run to safety to avoid being hit by stray bullets, though, there was no exchange of gun shots.”
Immediately after the incident, hoax messages were being sent on mobile phones that there were killings, PUNCH METRO findings showed that nobody died during the clash.
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. Samuel Jinadu, who confirmed the incident, however denied that the policeman assaulted the soldier.
“The situation is under control. There was an argument between a policeman and a soldier but the policeman did not assault the soldier. The Divisional Police Officer of Ilupeju confirmed to me that the area is peaceful,” he said.