It was another black weekend for officers of the Nigeria Police Force, as armed robbers allegedly killed about 10 of them in different parts of Lagos State. In Kano State, the story was also the same as some unidentified gunmen allegedly shot dead two policemen and injured two others at Kawo Tishama, an outskirt of Kano metropolis.
The death of the policemen, it was gathered, had increased the recent death toll of officers, who died in the course of duty within the last two years to 42.
Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Umar Manko, had during the end of the year’s account of stewardship at the state Security Trust Fund (STF) meeting disclosed that about 32 policemen were killed by robbers between October 2011 and November 2012.
He, however, added that the police killed 140 armed robbers compared with 164 that were killed between November 2010 and October 2011, while 569 armed robbers were arrested in 2012 as against 522 in 2011.
Checks revealed that between December 12 and 13, some of the policemen were allegedly shot dead by robbers in a gun duel at the Redemption Way in Oyingbo, Aguda and Ajah-Lekki areas of the state respectively.
At the Redemption Way, a police corporal attached to Denton Police Station, identified as Moroof, was allegedly killed by robbers.
According to an eyewitness' report, the robbers shot the police corporal, when they were trying to escape after robbing a house. The policemen were unfortunate to have run into the armed robbers, having only came to the area to raid one of the joints there.
The source said the robbers panicked upon sighting a police patrol van and opened fire, hitting one of the policemen in the vehicle. He said while other officers had gone to raid the joints, Corporal Moroof was left in the car and was hit by the hails of bullets released by the robbers.
As efforts to confirm the incidents with the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ngozi Braide, a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP), proved abortive, even as the text message sent to the CP was not replied.
However, a police source said he only heard about the robbery incidents at Oyingbo and Ajah but not that of Aguda.
According to him, at the Ajah area, some policemen were waylaid by the robbers as they were on their way to respond to a distress call.
He said: "The policemen were actually on their way to respond to a distress call when the armed robbers waylaid and shot them to death including a traffic policeman who was at the scene."
Meanwhile, an eyewitness, who spoke to journalists in Kano, said the gunmen rode on a tricycle popularly known as 'a daidaita sahu' at about 4.p.m., opening fire on the policemen and killed two on the spot, while a civilian was hit by a stray bullet.
Following the death of their colleagues, it was gathered that other policemen then engaged the gunmen in a gun battle, which prompted the gunmen to flee the scene of the incident.
Thereafter, it was gathered that the members of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) immediately cordoned off the entire area, as residents remained indoors.
Confirming the incident, the spokesman of the Police Command, Mr. Magaji Majiya, an Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP), said two policemen were killed, while two other civilians were also injured.
"Two of our policemen were gunned down while two civilians were injured during the gun battle between the gunmen and our men."
The spokesman added that the gunmen engaged the policemen in a gun battle at about 4 p.m. which eventually led to the death of two policemen, while two civilians were injured.
Majia, who said some of the gunmen escaped with bullet injuries, explained that the security operatives were quickly mobilised to the scene of the incident pointing out that security had been beefed up in the area to effect the arrest of the suspects.