Nigeria police chief to 'promptly' restore burnt barracks

  Lagos- Nigeria (PANA) -- Nigeria's Inspector-General of Police, Sunday Ehindero, Wednesday visited the scene of Tuesday's violent clash in Lagos between police and soldiers, promising to rehabilitate the massively- destroyed police barracks "as soon as possible".
   Ehindero, who arrived at the Ojuelegba area of the commercial city about 30 hours after the clash, also used the visit to clarify his earlier statement that the clash, which left at least three dead and nine injured, was a "minor fracas".
   The police boss explained that he was referring to the disagreement, between an off-duty soldier and policemen, that led to the violence, and not the subsequent clash during which angry soldiers burnt down the police station and adjoining barracks, damaged or burnt 50 vehicles and looted the police armoury.
   The Inspector-General of Police has been widely criticised for playing down the fracas, during which several police officers were also severely flogged.
   Ehindero, who was accompanied by Lagos state police commissioner Ade Ajakaiye, spent about 15 minutes inspecting the damages.
   Shortly on arrival from the capital city of Abuja earlier Wednesday, the police chief had visited the state police headquarters, where he met with some of the officers injured during the clash.
   He was also shown some of the arms and ammunition that were taken from the police armoury by the soldiers, apparently indicating they had been returned by the looters.
   Security was tight during his visit to the flash point, with hundreds of anti-riot policemen deployed in the area, located just 100 metres from the military barracks where the rampaging soldiers were based.
   The situation around the scene of the violence had almost normalised, even though telltale signs of its ferocity littered the area.
   Earlier Tuesday, Lagos governor Bola Tinubu had visited the scene, after which he chaired a security meeting that ordered a joint police/military patrol to restore order.

05 october 2005 15:26:00

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