Policemen drafted to quell a protest by casual workers at Chi Limited in Ajao Estate, Lagos State, killed two people after opening fire on the protesters.
Read Why Police Kill 2 Protesting Casual Workers In Lagos
One of the dead workers was Daniel Osikoya, 19, who according to the Punch newspaper only joined the company few days before the incident. The other dead worker’s identity is yet to be ascertained.
However, the Lagos State Police Command said the policemen who pulled the trigger acted in self-defence and within the ambit of the law as the workers had attacked them with caustic soda, thereby injuring an inspector.
According to the Punch, the casual workers were protesting the company’s alleged discrimination against them. They said the company only caters for the welfare of regular staff to the detriment of the welfare of casual employees.
The workers said the distribution of Christmas gift items was the trigger for the protest that turned bloody. They said after the company allegedly did not consider them as being eligible for Christmas gifts, casual workers in the production department decided on their own to that each of them would take away a carton of the company’s products – which range from Chivita juice, Happy Hour to Ice tea and Capri-Sonne, among other dairy products – as their own New Year packages.
“It is pure injustice to give only the full-time workers gifts without giving any to casual workers, who do most of the jobs. That was why we fought for our rights. It is unfair for the policemen to attack us. We were about to move the cartons out of the company’s gate when the policemen invited by one of the company’s security men started shooting,” said a worker who asked not to be named.
“Bullets hit Daniel in the thigh and another worker was shot in the leg. I was with the two workers that were shot; it was God that saved me. They shot at us as if we were thieves.
“They were not taken to a hospital on time and Daniel died around 8am that day. He bled to death. The other victim died this afternoon (Tuesday). Because of that incident, we were not allowed to work,” a worker said.
The Police Public Relations Officer in Lagos, SP Dolapo Badmos, said the workers were violent.
She said, “The command received a distress call that workers of Chi Limited were disrupting business activities of the company.
“The command’s operatives were mobilised to the scene to douse tension, but the workers attacked the policemen, throwing caustic soda at them.
“As a result, one inspector suffered severe burns and he is recovering in a hospital. Why should a policeman on duty be attacked? That attitude should stop.
“Attacks on policemen are not right and must be condemned; they are also human beings with families.
“The command received the report that one person was shot dead.
“There is what we call rules of engagement and use of firearms under the police acts and regulations.
“The command has studied the situation and discovered that the personnel deployed acted in accordance with the rules,” she said.