Almost a week after about 50 suspects were picked up from different parts of Lagos State, following the twin explosions that rocked a tank farm along Creek Road in Apapa, killing four persons, the police have said the arrests were preemptive raids.
As at yesterday, it was still unclear if the suspects, who were mostly foreigners, had been cleared or charged as the police had planned earlier.
The police had days after the blast kicked off a massive mop up of suspects and transferred them to the state Special Investigation Bureau (SIB), Ikeja where they were profiled.
A police source had disclosed that the foreigners who had smuggled themselves into the country without the appropriate pass, would be deported if they are cleared after investigations.
When contacted, the Force Public Relations Officer, Frank Mba, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), said he was not aware of such raid by the state command but promised to find out.
He, however, said if such an incident happened, then it must have been a preemptive raid on the part of the state command as part of measures to look for evidence to help prevent a reoccurrence.
He said: "It must have been a preemptive raid which is different from arresting the real suspects behind the incident. We need to be careful so as not to create the impression that the people behind the incident has been arrested.
"Such raids are crime preventive strategy and it is a sweep operation which aims to prevent further occurrence of such an incident and also helps the police look for evidence.
"The thing about those kinds of raids is that evidence garnered might be connected to the first crime, which will aid the police to try to disrupt any criminal arrangement on ground. So if there was any arrest, it must be in this direction."
But when contacted, the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) Public Relations Officer, Lagos Command, Muyiwa Odunubi, said the service was yet to receive any of such persons from the police either profiled or otherwise.
He said: "Nobody has been brought to immigration neither have the police informed us of plans to do so. We can only act when they send us the profiled foreigners.
"Even at that, we will only deport them if after screening and it is discovered they do not have the proper valid documents and did not come in through the recognised points of entry."
...CULLED FROM THISDAY