There was pandemonium in Benin City on Saturday as a combined team of men of the Edo State Police command and Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) allegedly beat up a soldier, for not wearing a face mask.
The incident happened between 1pm and 1:30pm at the entrance of the Lagos Street at the heart of the ever-busy King’s Square.
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It occurred within 24-hours after the state government ordered the shut down of Lagos Street to all business activities over alleged refusal of traders and residents of the street to comply with the state government’s directives to participate in the ongoing screening and testing exercise for Coronavirus (COVID-19), as part of efforts to contain the pandemic.
The incident, however, forced traders and passers-by to run helter-skelter as men of the Nigerian Army who stormed the area after the attacked soldier and the police drove to the nearby Oba Police divisional headquarters for settlement shot repeatedly in the air to scare the police and NSCDC officers.
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It was gathered that trouble started when the Army officer, whose identity could not be ascertained at press time who was on the street was asked to put on his facemask.
Eyewitnesses account had it that “the soldier and his wife on entering the closed down Lagos street by the state government was asked to wear his facemask by the policemen on duty.
The witnesses, who pleaded anonymity said the soldier who was on military khaki short had an handkerchief on his neck while his wife did not properly put on her facemask.
They alleged that the soldier brought his Identification Card (ID CARD) to identify himself but the police officer dismissed the ID card as fake.
They also alleged, that the soldier, however, got infuriated when one of the police officer pushed his wife with a gun in a bid to force her to wear the noise mask.
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Following the argument that ensued , the police officers, however, descended on the soldier and injured him on the head with their gun butt.
It was learnt that the quick intervention of top officers of the Nigerian Army authorities and the State police command, however put the situation under control.