Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) Managing Director Tajudeen Disu and three others were killed yesterday in a clash in Okuraiye Community near Ibeju Lekki, Lagos.
Disu was reportedly killed by irate villagers, who were protesting against what they called “forceful takeover” of their land.
The others are a policeman and two villagers.
The villagers claimed that the police killed two of them in a bid to “forcefully takeover” the land on which Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote plans to build a refinery.
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode described the mayhem as shocking and unacceptable, urging the police to bring the perpetrators to book.
Police chief Fatai Owoseni said 10 persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.
A chief alleged that the Lekki Free Trade Zone called in riot policemen from “Mopol 49” because the villagers had always protested against forceful acquisition of their land. The chief claimed that the policemen were led by the late Disu.
Soldiers have been deployed in the community to maintain peace. Chief Security Officer of Dangote Refinery Col. Usman (rtd) was among those injured.
Addressing reporters, at the Lagos House in Alausa, Ikeja, Ambode said Disu was shot during an official visit to one of the villages within the zone.
“We are deeply touched with the loss of our dedicated officer at the Lekki Free Trade Zone, Alhaji Tajudeen Disu, who was until his death the arrowhead of the Free Trade Zone Initiative. He was killed within the Lekki Free Trade Zone this morning. It really saddens my heart and the heart of all of us because this was somebody that has been dedicated to his duty in the past 10 years”.
The governor described the late Disu as a man who was committed to promoting the inflow of investment to Lagos State. He expressed concern over the motives of those behind the killing.
Ambode urged Owoseni to unravel the events that led to Disu’s death.
“This is a great concern and I have directed the Lagos State Commissioner of Police to investigate the cause of the death. The Commissioner of Police must do a thorough investigation to unravel the root cause of what has just happened because he was on a peaceful mission to that place”, the governor said.
He urged residents of the area to remain calm as his administration will continue to ensure the security of lives and properties.
“I want to appeal to all our people in Ibeju Lekki axis that they should give peace a chance; it is in the interest of all Lagosians that we attract as many investors to the state. That is what we have been doing in the last four months. I implore everybody to be calm. We would get to the root of this unfortunate incident”, he said.
The governor added: “I will like everybody to also know that we are trying our best but we can only appeal to our people to allow peace to reign in the Free Trade Zone. That is the only way we can allow more people to be involved in this trade zone. Let me tell our people that we are on the right cause for the kind of job creation we want to bring to Lagos State”.
Owoseni said investigation is on-going to uncover the sponsors of the mayhem.
“We have so far arrested 10 suspects and the arrests we have made are those that are directly responsible.”
“We would do a diligent investigation. We will ensure that the people behind it are arrested, not just the people we see on the road are perpetrators, and there may be sponsors. We will go after these sponsors and I can assure you we ensure the investigation is carried out as speedily as possible and we will make sure they are diligently prosecuted,” Owoseni said.
Lagos Command spokesman Deputy Superintendent Police (DSP) Joseph Offor said many were arrested after the clash, adding that some were let off after screening.
Offor said the incident started around 9am, noting that Usman was stabbed by the mob who were armed with dangerous weapons and charms.
He said: “The residents of the community engaged in a violent protest this morning. They claimed that they did not sell their land to Dangote refinery and they were carrying knives, sticks and charms.
“So, the Managing Director of the Lekki Free Trade Zone came out and tried to appease them but he was lynched.
“The mob also stabbed a retired Colonel, who is the CSO of Dangote refinery.
“Some people are currently in police net and the Commissioner of Police has assured that the family of the deceased will get justice.
“Those involved in this crime won’t go on punished. At the end of investigations, those found to be connected with it will be charged to court.”