There was drama at the Oando Filling Station in the Ojodu Berger area of Lagos State on Tuesday when angry youths pummelled a policeman who allegedly obstructed them from buying fuel at the station.
PUNCH Metro learnt that the policeman, whose name had yet to be ascertained, was attached to a Safer Highways Patrol unit.
It was gathered that as a result of the fuel scarcity, youths numbering over 50 had besieged the station with different jerrycans as early as 4am.
Our correspondent learnt that at about 9am, the Safer Highways Patrol policemen got to the station and had an altercation with the youths.
The youths reportedly pounced on one of the policemen, beat him up, and tore his uniform.
Our correspondent gathered that the policeman’s cap was taken away by one of the attackers.
When PUNCH Metro got to the scene around 10am, the youths were still making trouble with their jerrycans and motorcycles, causing traffic at the Berger end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
Some Rapid Response Squad operatives and Federal Road Safety Corps officers were observed cautioning the youths, who also accused the policemen of provoking them.
One of them, who gave his name only as Olamide, said the policeman had allegedly tortured a youth before they attacked him.
He said, “I have been here since 6am to buy fuel. At some point, the attendants said they would not sell to people with jerrycans. We tried talking them out of that decision. Then, the policemen came to the scene, and started harassing people.
“One of the officers attacked a young man. So, some youths became angry and punched the policeman. The youths tore his uniform and one of the attackers escaped with the policeman’s cap.”
Our correspondent learnt that the embattled policemen thereafter called for reinforcement from the RRS, which mobilised to the scene and stopped the rampaging youths.
It was gathered that the injured policeman was taken away in a van to an undisclosed hospital.
Another witness, who declined to give her name, said, “The policemen are still looking for the thug who escaped with the officer’s cap. The policeman was hit in the nose, and he staggered and fell. He was dealt with because he and other officers wanted to harass people who were already provoked by the fuel situation.”
The RRS Commander, ACP Tunji Disu, who later came to the station, urged the youths to maintain calm.
“In a rowdy situation like this, you cannot rule out policemen shouting at people. But everyone has to be calm and take things easy,” he said.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said she had not been briefed on the incident.
“I do not have that report,” she said.
Police arrest manager for selling above pump price
Operatives of the Rapid Response Squad of the Lagos State Police Command have arrested the Manager of the Oando Filling Station near the Otedola Bridge end of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Mr. Rasaq Fakorede, for selling petrol above pump price and into jerrycans.
The accountant of the station, Ibrahim Adewale, was also nabbed.
The RRS said it got information that the petrol station was selling fuel at N180 to hawkers, who brought jerrycans to the station, neglecting motorists.
It was learnt that the officers of the RRS swooped on the station and caught the station’s attendants selling fuel to people with jerrycans, while many motorists lined up without hope of buying fuel at the station.
A RRS source said, “We learnt that the station was dispensing fuel to the public at N180 per litre, which was far from the regulated pump price of N86.50k.
“We also found out that the station, as of the time of the visit, had over 5,000 litres inside its underground tanks, while refusing to sell to motorists.”
Our correspondent gathered that the police also seized 30 jerrycans filled with petrol, which were hidden in an office at the station.
The station’s manager and accountant were subsequently arrested.
Fakorede, the manager of the filling station, pleaded that he be pardoned.
“I will organise my boys to start selling the fuel to the vehicles in the queue,” he added.
RRS commander, Disu, said the manager and the station’s accountant had been handed over to the Isheri Police Station for onward transfer to the Lagos State Police Command Headquarters in Ikeja.
Vehicle crushes three filling station guards, kills two
Three filling station guards have been crushed by a Volkswagen bus at the HS Petroleum, in the Ago-Okuta area of Lagos State.
While two of them were confirmed dead at a general hospital, the third victim was said to have sustained serious injuries.
The deceased were identified as 35-year-old Tope Oni and Jeremiah Samuel, 38.
They were said to be on duty on Friday around 1.45am, when a blue Volkswagen bus, with number plate, MUS 497 XG, crashed into the station and hit them.
The driver was reported to have fled the scene, while policemen from the Okota division recovered the vehicle.
The Police Public Relations Officer, Badmos, who confirmed the incident, said the driver of the vehicle was speeding, adding that the remains of the victims had been deposited in a morgue.
She said, “It was a fatal motor accident which occurred at about 1.45am in front of the HS Petroleum in Ago-Okota. A Volkswagen bus, which was travelling on top speed towards FESTAC Town, ran into three young men, who were guards of the filling station.
“The driver ran away. The three men were rushed to the Isolo General Hospital, but two died.”
Tipper driver dies after crashing into stationary tanker
A yet-to-be identified tipper driver has been killed after ramming into a stationary tanker conveying black oil.
The incident, which happened around 5am on Tuesday at the Oke-Odo, Agege, Lagos, was said to have been caused by speeding.
The Director of the Lagos State Fire Service, Rasak Fadipe, explained that the driver of the tipper died on the spot.
He said, “Around 5am, a tipper driver rammed into the rear of a stationary tanker. The tanker was conveying a petroleum product.
“The impact was serious and the driver died on the spot. His corpse was handed over to policemen from the Oke-Odo division.”
A LASTMA official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the driver was on top speed, adding that the impact also punctured the tanker.
“The driver of the tipper hit the fuel tanker with so much force that the gear of the vehicle broke off. The black oil leaking from the tanker was much and the fire service had to be invited to prevent disaster,” the official added.
The Public Relations Officer of LASTMA, Mahmud Hassan, said the accident was preventable if the driver had been cautious enough.
He said, “Drivers need to be careful and drive with caution to avert avoidable loss of lives.”
Lagos Assembly calls for solution
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Tuesday called on President Mohammadu Buhari to direct appropriate ministries and agencies to immediately proffer a solution to the ongoing fuel crisis.
The Speaker of the Assembly, Mudashiru Obasa, said the House would immediately write to the president to stop fuel scarcity in the country, especially in Lagos.
A lawmaker, Sanai Agunbiade, who represents Ikorodu 1, had raised a motion under Matter of Urgent Public Importance, observing that Lagosians were complaining about the scarcity and gridlock caused by vehicles parked at filling stations.
He said, “Many people have also been buying petrol in jerrycans and storing fuel at home, which could lead to explosions.”
The House subsequently implored the Federal Government to identify and sanction any person or bodies culpable in the cause of the fuel scarcity in the country.
The lawmakers also urged the FG to give immediate special consideration to the distribution of fuel in Lagos State, while calling on Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to direct appropriate agencies to control traffic in areas where filling stations had been selling petrol.
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