by Alli Mustapha
Yesterday, Wednesday, March 12, injuries were sustained while several properties, including 10 trucks, were vandalised after hoodlums clashed with tanker drivers at Finiger along Lagos-Badagry Expressway.
The violence started Monday evening as a result of an illegal levy being collected by thugs allegedly loyal to a monarch in Satellite Town, Ojo. The violence forced many schools and businesses to close as fear of escalation heightened that day and day after.
Drivers of the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas (NUPENG) were said to have opposed the daily extortion of N2,000 by the thugs who also collect N3,000 from trailer drivers. They then protested because they felt overburdened paying levies to NUPENG as well as other legitimate fees.
It was gathered that the thugs felt slighted by the drivers’ refusal to continue such payment went berserk, throwing bottles and stones into the NUPENG park. They were armed with guns and other dangerous weapons and were said to have assaulted some of the drivers and threatened to chase them out of the park which they claimed belonged to the monarch.
According to a source, several complaints and petitions have been written to the Commissioner of Police, Assistant Inspector General (AIG) in charge of Zone II and the Federal Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (FCIID) on activities of the thugs and the monarch.
A driver, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said they were tired of the “illegal activities of the monarch” and appealed to the authorities to step in.
“So many drivers were injured. They were just throwing stones and bottles. They vandalised 10 trucks including those that had products in them. What would have happened if a fire broke out as a result of their action?
“It is not like we do not have boys to fight back but we do not want to take laws into our hands. We have written petitions to the police on several occasions on activities of the Oba and his boys but nothing has come out of it yet.”
It was gathered that police operative from Satellite Division battled all night to quell the situation but the thugs in their hundreds kept attacking from different fronts.
However, Police Commissioner Hakeem Odumosu ordered the deployment of mobile police reinforcements from the Strike Force at command headquarters to restore calm in the area yesterday afternoon.
Five suspects have been arrested in connection with the clash and they would be moved to the command headquarters in line with the Commissioner’s directives.