There was chaos at the Borno State Government House today as soldiers and policemen engaged in gun battle over rice meant for IDPs. Since Monday, the government has been distributing bags of rice and Semovita to poor residents.
As the distribution started today, police barred vehicles from accessing the venue. At about 11am, a Nigerian Army truck showed up, insisting on gaining access to the venue where the items were being shared, in order to fill up their truck.
An attempt by the mobile policemen attached to the office to prevent the soldiers from achieving their goal, led to an argument and an angry soldier allegedly opened fire, injuring a policeman in the leg. The police responded and gunshots rent the air as IDPs scampered for safety.
It took the intervention of the Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole, Brig. Gen. Lucky Irabor, to get the furious soldiers to withdraw from the battle, which caused panic across Maiduguri.
Addressing the parties in conflict, Irabor described the situation as “shameful and highly unbecoming of uniformed officers”. His words: “What is a bag of rice that will give you the cause to be angry? Bag of rice? It is shameful.
Let us not behave like children: all of us have children at home. If the world hears that it is because of bags of rice that made police and soldiers to be fighting, is it not shameful?"