Some riot policemen serving as security operatives on the site of an ongoing building construction on Olumide Madariola Street, Sea Side Estate, Badore Ajah, Lagos, have allegedly attacked a team of the Lagos State Building Control Agency.
The PUNCH was told that personal effects of the officials, who were on an official assignment, were also seized by the policemen.
The Assistant Director, Public Affairs Unit, LASBCA, Gbadeyanka Bello, said the team was acting on instructions of the general manager of the agency after several reports of illegal and non-conforming constructions were reported in the area.
He said, “According to the team leader, who was visibly shaken by the attack, trouble started when they noticed work ongoing on a construction site that had been previously sealed off by the agency after they had visited several other properties in the area.
“They approached the workmen on the site and asked for documents required by law for construction. Rather than produce the documents, some mobile policemen dressed in black Mopol T-shirts pounced on them, forced them into the compound and held them hostage for several hours.”
Bello claimed that one of the policemen, identified as Joseph, shot continuously into the air, forcing passersby to scamper for safety.
He further alleged that the officers shot on the grounds around the government workers to scare them as they sat on the floor.
A lawyer in the vicinity was reported to have intervened, while the officials were released though their phones were seized.
The Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Dr Idris Salako, said such acts would not be tolerated.
He noted that LASBCA’s zero tolerance for illegal construction in the state would continue up until full compliance was achieved.
The General Manager of the agency, Biola Kosegbe, while condemning the alleged action of the policemen, wondered why they resorted to obstructing official assignment and harassing the officials.
She noted that the government workers were in uniform and drove a branded official vehicle to the area.
Kosegbe said the matter had been reported to the police and both the owner and developer of the property and the policemen would be prosecuted for infringing on the rights of the officials.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Bala Elkana, said he was not aware of the incident and promised to respond after making enquiries.
He had yet to do so as of press time.