Residents of Otodogbame in Ikate area of Lekki, Lagos State, say three members of the community have drowned while seven others are still missing following a clash during which they alleged that the police “invaded” the area.
A resident, who pleaded anonymity alleged that the policemen, who came to the area were shooting sporadically on Tuesday, forcing residents of the riverside community to flee while some drowned.
Saturday PUNCH learnt that one of the bodies so far recovered from surrounding waters was a pregnant woman.
“We are still looking for at least seven members of our community. One of them is a woman with her child. She ran away like everyone else when the shooting started and we have not found them,” he said.
It was learnt that the event which culminated in what the residents described as the police “invasion” started on Sunday, November 6, when a fight broke out between two youths of the community.
One of the youths injured in the process was said to have reported to the police, who later came to the community, arrest other youths and later charged them to court on Tuesday.
The residents also alleged that some individuals accompanied by the police set some houses ablaze during the arrest of the youths.
A resident told Saturday PUNCH, “While we were at the court for the case, a larger team of policemen went to our community and started to demolish houses in the community.
“While the confusion was ongoing, the policemen started shooting and that was why people ran away. Some people fled into the water in fear. We recovered the body of the pregnant woman on Thursday and we are still searching for bodies right now.”
As of the time of filing this report, many residents said they had no roof over their heads as they had been rendered homeless.
But the spokesperson for the Lagos State Police Command, Dolapo Badmos, said the allegations were false.
She explained that the police team was there simply to restore normalcy.
Badmos said, “The command received a distress call that the Egun- and Yoruba-speaking communities of the area were having a clash and that they set each other’s houses ablaze.
“Police moved in to restore normalcy. In the process, a policeman even moved into one of the shanties on fire and rescued a baby and reunited the baby with the mother.
“We have pictorial evidence of that. How is it possible for the policeman to rescue a two-day old baby if the team had gone there to attack the residents? Would they have time to rescue a baby if they had gone there to attack?”