After the immediately preceding General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Umar Musa claimed that the troops responsible for Inspector Monday Orukpe’s murder reacted to a bullet fired by the policeman, the Lagos State Police Command blasted the Nigerian Army on Wednesday.
At the 81 Division’s headquarters on the Victoria Island region of Lagos State, Musa, a Major-General, was handing over to the division’s new GOC, Obinna Ajunwa.
Musa stated that preliminary findings indicated that the police officer shot at one of the soldiers during the argument, but added that the bullet missed the soldier’s vital organs since investigations were still ongoing.
“The other soldiers reacted to the shot fired by the police officer and this led to their beating the policeman to death. We have paid a condolence visit to the Commissioner of Police to tell him that we will take necessary measures to prevent future occurrences of such nature.
“The injured soldier is in hospital receiving treatment and investigation is ongoing to ascertain the next line of action to be taken,” Musa said according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
In response to the claim, SP Benjamin Hundeyin, the state police public relations officer, released a denial on his Twitter page on Wednesday, claiming that no soldier was shot and that the soldiers had attacked the police officers without provocation.
He noted: “Inasmuch as the Lagos State Police Command is in a grieving mood and has decided to toe the line of civility, it is pertinent to stand against misinformation.
“The fact remains that on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, at the Trade Fair area of Lagos State, about 30 privates of the Nigerian Army attacked five policemen for stopping vehicles along their lane to pave way for a heavy-duty truck joining the expressway.
“After the soldiers had brutalised the ASP leading the team, taken out his magazine, and abducted two Inspectors with their rifles, the next Inspector they attempted to attack fired a single shot into the air – an act that made the soldiers retreat.
“At no point was anyone hit. While we mourn our fallen hero and pray for the total recovery of the second abducted Inspector, we urge Nigerians to disregard the claim that a soldier was shot as there is absolutely no truth to it.
“Meanwhile, the Lagos State Police Command looks forward to the fishing out of the soldiers behind the torture and murder of Inspector Monday Orukpe.”
The late Inspector Favour’s wife, however, claimed in a Tuesday interview with one of our reporters that neither the army nor the police had paid her family or the four children any official visits.
The mother of four, who was demanding justice, claimed that after attempting unsuccessfully to contact her husband on his cell number, she began to worry that something had happened to him.
She stated: “Normally, he is the type that always calls home to check on us. But on Wednesday, I didn’t hear from him and around 12pm and 2pm, I became worried but thought he was busy. Around 4pm, I called him but he didn’t pick the call. Around 8pm, I called again and he didn’t pick the call.
“Immediately, I started contacting his co-workers and got across to one of them around 5.30am the next day. He said my husband went out and promised he would call back when he returned.
“I searched for the admin number of the police station where my husband worked and the policeman that picked my call told me he went on a special duty across the river.”
Favour claimed that she was attempting to discover her husband’s location when she learned that he had been brutally murdered by soldiers.
Favour, who was still breastfeeding a three-month-old baby named Covenant whose brothers, Divine, 13, Emmanuel, 11, and Praise, 7, had been devastated by the untimely death of their father, described her husband’s passing as sudden.
“They (army and police) just abandoned me; I have not heard from the Commissioner of Police, or the army, and not even his co-workers. They abandoned us because we are nobody. He (Monday) was our breadwinner.
“I want the soldiers that killed him to be brought to book. I also want the army to say what they would do for my children because I can’t take care of them alone. His corpse is still with the army,” she added.
Reacting to Favour’s allegation, Hundeyin said, “The command will not be that insensitive as to abandoning them. As a matter of fact, the Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Alabi, was in Abuja when the incident happened and for that reason, he took the next available flight back to Lagos.
“On his return, he had a meeting with the leadership of the Nigerian Army in Lagos. Three Brigadier-Generals came to the office and the CP demanded that the perpetrators of this act be fished out and made to face the law.
“The CP has delegated the Area Commander in FESTAC to represent the command and pay a visit to the family of the fallen hero.”
The spokesperson, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Major Olaniyi Osoba, said, “The army has already paid a condolence visit to the police and the case is still under investigation. It’s an unfortunate incident but it is still undergoing administrative procedure.”