Soldiers and Police on Thursday, exchanged fire as they fought over relief materials (food items) distributed by the government to mark the Ramadan fast at the Borno State government house.
As many people converged at the entrance of the government building in Maiduguri, for relief materials of either a bag of rice or semovita, the police barred vehicles from accessing the venue, except those on special permission.
Distribution of rice to internally displaced persons living in the host communities of Maiduguri and Jere metropolis began on Sunday, June 19 by the State Government in the Government House and policemen were directed to ensure that the beneficiaries are genuine IDPs.
A Nigerian Army truck later showed up, insisting on gaining access to the venue where rice and semovita were being shared.
Suspecting that the soldiers were trying to help themselves to the handouts, police officers demanded they turn back immediately.
Witnesses say an argument ensued and an angry soldier allegedly shot a police officer in the foot. In reaction, the police rent gunshots in the air as many scampered for safety.
As a result of the incident, the state government suspended the distribution of the relief materials, leaving expectant beneficiaries disappointed and frustrated.
The Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Police Force in Maiduguri have jointly condemned the unfortunate incident, which was quickly brought under full control within minutes. A statement issued by the joint authorities read as follows:
“In the morning hours of today (Thursday), there was an unfortunate fracas between a soldier and a policeman around the office of the Deputy Governor over a disagreement, which led to the unfortunate shooting of a policeman on his foot.
“The policeman is responding to treatment and has been visited by the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major General LEO Irabor, and the Commissioner of Police, Borno State Command, Aminchi Baraya, both of whom went together to sympathise with the policeman.
“The Army and the Police are jointly investigating the cause of the fracas with a view to ensuring that anyone found culpable amongst the security men are made to face disciplinary measures in line with laid down rules of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Findings and measures taken will be brought to public knowledge as soon as possible.
“The Army and the Police operating in Borno assure the general public that they will continue to collaborate and work together towards their ongoing counter-insurgency and civil security efforts that have led to the emerging peace in Borno State.
“The Army and the Police commands in Borno State call on all personnel to exercise restraint in the cause of their duties and should strive to respect one another and work together to secure innocent citizens and maintain peace.”