Report on Interest

LAGESC officials, Court staff clash, one feared dead, 11 injure

By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
Efforts by officials of Lagos State Environmental Sanitation Corps (LAGESC) to restore sanity across the state has suffered huge setbacks, following clash between staffs of Federal High Court, FHC Ikoyi and the officials.
After the clash, atleast one LAGESC officer, theGuild gathered, is currently battling for life in a state government owned hospital after been stabbed in the neck and 11 persons injured.
 
It was exclusively learned that of the 11 injured, four were LAGESC officers and are presently admitted at the hospital, while the seven others were staffs of FHC; presently cooling off at the Oshodi police Station, Oshodi.
 
Aside the injured, it was learned that no fewer than three LAGESC operational vehicles were vandalised during the face-off that lasted for hours.
 
It was gathered that the clash started when the LAGESC officials stormed Queens Drive in Ikoyi at about 2pm, asking the street traders to leave because their activities were against the state laws.
 
During the exercise, it was gathered that staff of the Federal High Court who were known to patronise the street traders obstructed the operatives while dislodging the street traders who had earlier been given several notices to vacate the location due to blockage of drainage channels.
The exercise, which is part of the Governor’s mandate to clear the State of all environmental nuisance and infractions such as street trading on walk ways/setbacks as well as erection of illegal shanties across the State, was led by the Deputy Corps Marshal in charge of Operations, Ganiu Kazeem and Deputy Corps Marshal, Discipline and Staff Welfare, Adeleke Adeeso.
Kazeem, in statement by its Public Affairs Officer, Adebayo Kehinde, explained that his team was attacked by staff  of the Federal High Court with the support of private security personnel, hurling stones, iron rods, broken bottles and cutlasses and leaving members of the enforcement team injured.
He maintained that the operation had nothing to do with the staff of the Court but it was discovered that the hawkers were paying rent  to the private security of the Court thereby necessitating the intervention by court personnel.
The Deputy Corp Marshal confirmed that some of suspects were arrested during the fracas, while the case was also immediately reported at the Ikoyi Police Station for further investigation, advising Lagosians  to comply with the laws on street trading as the government would no longer tolerate the slightest attack on any enforcement personnel.
The injured enforcement officers include; Oyedokun Samson (driver), Iwatan Oluwa Seun, Riwatan Oluwatobi and Shipeolu Babatunde and are currently receiving treatment while one of them who was stabbed in the neck is still in critical condition.
The Corp Mashal of the Agency, CP Gbemisola Akinpelu (retd) reiterated the determination of the agency to ensure that all the citizens in the state abide by the stipulated environmental regulations of the State noting that nobody in the State is above the law and warning people to desist from attacking enforcement officers out to carry their legal duties.
Responding, Christine Ende, DCR FHC for Lagos, confirmed that seven of the court staff, who suffered different degrees of injuries, were currently been detained by the Nigerian Police after the incident.
Ende stressed that she cannot narrate what transpired between the court staff and law enforcement officers but her efforts to ensure the detainees were released has been prevented by the Police and LAGESC officials.
She noted that conditions set by the LAGESC officials for release of the detained staffs have been met but they (lagesc officials) have allegedly engage in acts that will prevent their release.

 

Ende disclosed that the court staff also impounded atleast two LAGESC vehicles as retaliation for the arrest of their colleagues during the clash.

“We have asked that they come with their keys, pick their vehicles and release our staff but they have not done that. I have done all that is necessary to ensure peace. But the LAGESC officials are not yielding”.

According to her, all we want now is to get their release and by Monday, both parties meet to address issues to prevent future face-off.

 

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