A police sergeant, Yusuf Hadi, has been ambushed and shot dead by suspected militants while in a boat on Ishuti River in the Egan area of Igando, Lagos State.
Our correspondent learnt that the gunmen, who were in another boat, attacked Hadi, who was attached to the Police Mobile Force 43, two female passengers, and the boat operator around the Agbara Bridge, towards Totowu community in Ogun State.
Our correspondent gathered that the incident occurred at about 3pm on Monday, and was reported at the Igando Police Division.
Some policemen at the Igando division were said to have rushed the sergeant to a private hospital but he did not survive the attack.
It was learnt that the militants, believed to be pipeline vandals, also dispossessed the ladies of their phones and money, before ordering Hadi to lie flat in the boat.
The sergeant, who was in uniform as of the time of the attack, was said to have begged his assailants to spare his life.
However, the vandals said he was an enemy and fired him first in the leg.
Thereafter, they reportedly pumped bullets into his body.
It was gathered that the boat operator and female passengers ferried Hadi to Ishuti, Egan, where some policemen from the Igando division rushed him to a hospital, where he was confirmed dead.
When reporter got to the Ishuti River on Tuesday, a witness, who gave his name only as Otunba, said the militants were three.
He said, “The three gunmen came in a fibre boat around 3pm. They waylaid the policeman’s boat around the Agbara Bridge area. They ordered the policeman to enter their boat and he did. He begged them to spare his life. But they said he was an enemy and ordered him to lie down in the boat. They first shot at his leg.
“Then they robbed the female passengers and the boat operator, collecting money, phones and jewellery. They returned to the policeman and they rained bullets on him. The militants instructed the boat operator not to drive away until the sergeant was dead.
“It was around 3.30pm that the boat got to Egan. Policemen from Igando division were here to receive the sergeant. His commander also came to check him, but he had died. If there had been a helicopter patrol around the bridge, the militants could have been spotted and arrested.”
The chairman of the boat operators, Ishuti River Unit, Alhaji Nurudeen Olorunfemi, urged the government to have military surveillance around the Agbara Bridge, which he said was notorious for militants’ attacks.
He said, “The Ishuti River, flows to Totowu, Itele and Agbara areas of Ogun State. The boat operator who was attacked is one of our members. He told us that the gunmen felt intimidated by the presence of the policeman.
“The ladies came back without their money and phones. Policemen from Igando were here on Monday and Tuesday to assess the area. Although the place of robbery fell under Ogun State, here was the nearest hospital the sergeant could have been rushed to. He, however, did not make it.
“It could happen to anyone. I urge the government to station military officers around the Agbara Bridge. That area is notorious for militants’ attacks. From the Agbara Bridge, you can connect the Lagos Lagoon. If the government ensures security on the waterways, this will not happen again.
“On our own part, we take safety measures. We allow only registered boat operators. Any strange face that brings a boat here is reported to the police. We also use lifejackets and adhere to the regulations given by the state government.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the killing.
She added that the command was working with the Ogun State Police Command to get to the root of the incident.
She said, “Hadi, with Force Number 397842, was shot dead by hoodlums in a boat on the Totowu Waterway in Ogun State, while on transit to Lagos.
“The shooting was done in a yet-to-be-determined circumstance. The corpse has been deposited in a morgue for an autopsy.
“Although the incident occurred under the Ogun State jurisdiction, the command will partner the Ogun command to get to the root of the matter.”