Monday, 18 May 2015

Gunshots as youths, police clash at National Stadium Surulere

There was confusion at the National Stadium in the Surulere area of Lagos on Sunday as armed policemen shot to disperse some youths who were protesting against being shut out of the stadium.

PUNCH Metro learnt that the youths, who blocked roads with objects, alleged that policemen from the Area C Command prevented them from entering the facility for their training.

Our correspondent gathered that apart from the gridlock caused by the incident, some vehicles were damaged during the commotion which lasted for about an hour.

A police source told our correspondent that the policemen acted on instruction to close the stadium’s two major entrances as some people were said to be having some programmes in the facility.

He added that a divisional police officer was wounded during the protest, adding that some of the rampaging youths had been rounded up by the police.

He said, “On Sunday, at about 7.30am, some youths came as usual to make use of the stadium, but the two main gates had been shut. We had been in the stadium since midnight on the order from above that everybody should be locked out of the premises.

“The youths would not listen to any explanation. Instead, they went on rampage, throwing stones and objects at policemen. There was confusion during which they injured a divisional police officer under the Area C Command. We did not shoot to wound them, but to disperse them.

“Some of the youths have been using the stadium on Sundays and this has become a norm. Those youths did not want to listen to any contrary instruction.”

However, a resident, identified only as Samuel, said some youths sustained gunshot injuries during the protest.

He said, “When we came to the stadium for our usual exercise, we found out that the gates were locked against us with police operatives blocking the two main entrances into the facility.

“All our attempts to explain to the policemen that we needed the stadium for our exercise were not fruitful. Instead, they started shooting sporadically.

“So, some youths started throwing stones at the policemen.

“In the process, some vehicles were damaged, while the action caused gridlock. The police also arrested some of the protesters.”

The Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Kenneth Nwosu, said 19 suspects were arrested during the confusion.

He said, “There were a burial ceremony and some church services in the stadium.

“The management said they did not want any authorised person to use the premises.

“Our men were there to enforce that instruction. Some unruly youths came there and started a protest.

“They threw stones, and smashed police vans. In the end, we arrested 19 suspects.

“Normalcy has been restored to the area.”

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