Men of the Rivers State Police Command and officers of Rivers State Traffic Management Agency (TIMARIV), yesterday engaged each other in a free –for-all fight in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The battle royal which took place at the entrance of Access Bank on Bank Road opposite the court premises left four TIMARIV staff hospitalised while an undisclosed number of police officers were also seriously injured.
The Tide gathered that TIMARIV had chased a bullion van from Ogbunabali axis of Port Harcourt to the bank entrance and blocked the entrance of the bank, thus, preventing the bullion van from entering, a situation that obstructed traffic and caused serious commotion at the court surrounding for hours.
An eye witness said when some policemen in the bullion van alighted, a female TIMARIV officer immediately slapped one of the policemen, a situation which triggered the physical onslaught.
Both parties were said to have called for reinforcement as scores of police officers and TIMARIV field workers besieged the scene of the superiority fight while some road users abandoned their vehicles and took to their heels.
This shameless drama by the two corrective and critical agencies which started few minutes to 10am, lasted till around 1.30pm when our reporter left the scene.
When contacted for his reaction, the Controller-General of TIMARIV, Nelson Jaja confirmed the development to The Tide.
“What I heard was that a bullion van hit down one of our staff and didn’t stop, so our men started chasing them until they stopped the van at the Access Bank”, he said.
According to the TIMARIV boss, the police officers beat one of his lady staff to a pulp, hence his people had to go for her rescue, adding that four TIMARIV officers were now hospitalised as a result of the fracas.
He said the intervention of the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Mr Muhammed Indabawa brought the situation under control, remarking that the CP had been very good to TIMARIV since he assumed office, and commended him for his understanding..
However, the Controller-General vowed that his agency would take legal action against Access Bank for its actions.
Bullion vans he said have no waiver to drive against traffic, noting that the van had no tag of identification nor even name plate.
“Only fire fighting vehicles, ambulances and some levels of security agencies like JTF on critical assignments could enjoy waivers and not bullion vans”, he maintained.
Efforts to reach the police Public Relations Officer of the Rivers State Police Command, Mr Ben Ugwuegbulam for confirmation yielded no positive results as his phone line remained switched off until press time.