There is anxiety among policemen who reside in the Nigerian Port Authority barracks in the Sunrise, Apapa area of Lagos State as they have been asked by the NPA authorities to exit the premises within two weeks.
Some policemen who spoke with PUNCH Metro on Monday said the barracks had been sold and that residents were paid N200,000 each to leave the premises.
Our correspondent learnt that while the policemen were initially given three months to vacate the barracks, the deadline had been reduced to two weeks which did not go down well with the affected persons.
A policeman who spoke on condition of anonymity said the fate of over 200 occupants of the barracks is currently not certain while asking police authorities to intervene.
He said, “We live in a barracks popularly known as the Nigerian Port Authority barracks at Sunrise, Apapa. The barracks is owned by the NPA and it was built for the police. Now, they want to sell the barracks to people who want to use it for terminal.
“At the meeting they had with our bosses, they said they would give N500,000 to each occupant to get accommodation elsewhere. They later said they could not afford the sum but instead, they would give each occupant N200, 000 and there is nowhere you can get a good apartment with that amount in Lagos.
“From the day we received the alert, we were given three months to vacate the premises. We were hoping that after three months we would look for a place to stay. Now, we were asked to vacate the premises after two weeks. It will not be easy for us who live in Ikorodu to come to Apapa every day. We are over 200 occupants in the barracks.”
Another policeman said, “If you are a police officer deployed to the NPA, you will be allocated the barracks. They just came suddenly that they want to sell the place. They have even sold the place.
“The problem is that it is not the main authority that is disturbing us to vacate the place but one of our officers. We just want to plead with the authorities to help us.
“The current deputy commissioner of police just started asking for our account details in a rush and started transferring the money. We were not given any notice. They are just threatening us verbally. They threatened us to exit the barracks by the weekend.”
When contacted, the Deputy Commissioner of Police, NPA, Rhoda Olofu, said it was more appropriate for our correspondent to contact her during official hours.
“This would have been more ideal if I was in the office, so I could give you the more ideal or authentic information you require. If you want to get authentic information, you can call during office hours,” she said.
Contacted the spokesperson for the Maritime Police Command, Ehinmode Rowland, said although he was aware of the development; the barracks is not under his jurisdiction.
“The barracks is not within my jurisdiction, we still have Port Authority who can speak better on that. Somebody also called me from the barracks to tell me that they were given a week to vacate the premises after they were initially given three months.
“The Public Relations Officer of the Nigeria Port Authority should be able to speak better on that. Yes, I am aware of the issue, a colleague from the barracks called me to inform me. I learnt the occupants have been paid, and they were given three months to leave the place but now it has been changed,” he said.
All efforts to get the reaction of the General Manager, Corporate Affairs, NPA, Josephine Moltok, proved abortive as her phone rang out.
(Culled from PUNCH)