There was confusion at a filling station along the Murtala Muhammed International Airport Road after a female police inspector attached to the Airport Police Command and identified as Mrs. Florence Anih, was slapped by a Nigerian Air Force lance corporal.
The lance corporal, who was in a truck marked, Rotary Group 205, was identified as Friday Zadiel.
Our correspondent learnt that the incident happened last Wednesday. Zadiel was said to be with another officer, who did not wear a name tag.
Our correspondent learnt from an eyewitness that the victim had driven into a branch of Forte Oil Filling Station on Airport Road to fill her fuel tank and discovered that there was a queue, which she joined.
However, when it came to her turn, the station attendant saw that her fuel tank was not directly facing the pump.
She was reportedly asked to turn her car for the tank to be in direct contact with the nozzle.
It was learnt that as she tried to turn as the attendant advised, Zadiel saw her and thought she was attempting to beat the queue.
He was said to have ordered her to go back to the end of the queue.
In the ensuing argument, Zadiel, who was in full military outfit, allegedly slapped Florence.
He was also said to have used his hand to break the windscreen of the policewoman’s car.
A witness, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Zadiel and his colleague had earlier been given preferential treatment and allowed to fill the tank of their vehicle because they claimed to be on a special mission.
He said, “The woman was on the queue and was not putting on a uniform. When it got to her turn, her fuel tank was at the other side of where the nozzle was.
“She was asked to turn and as she moved forward, the person behind her quickly filled the space and the attendant pleaded with the woman to be patient.
“He attended to the person behind her and was about to attend to her when the air force man came from the back and said the policewoman would not buy the fuel. The air force man said he was on a special assignment.”
The manager of the station reportedly intervened and ordered that the woman be served.
The witness added that Florence, however, said the officer and his colleague should be attended to since they were on a special assignment.
“After they were served, the air force man insisted that the woman should go back to the end of the queue.
“He started banging on her car and the woman challenged him. So, he told her, ‘you are silly’ and the woman also replied him, ‘you are also silly’ and that was how he slapped her.”
It was learnt that the assault resulted in a brawl.
PUNCH Metro was told that after the duo were separated, the air force officer, with his fist, hit the victim’s car windscreen and smashed it.
Florence’s husband, Mr. Justin Anih, said he had been humiliated by the incident.
He said efforts to get the military authorities to punish Zadiel had been abortive.
He said, “I saw the base commander, who said it was indiscipline in the service and the man who beat my wife will be made to answer for it.
“I also spoke with the unit commander, who said he had sent people to investigate, but nothing has been done.
“I am bitter that my wife could be beaten and humiliated in public without provocation.
“There is no law in the country that permits him to do that to my wife.”
The Command Public Relations Officer, Logistics Command, Nigerian Air Force, Joel Abioye, confirmed the incident.
He added that the matter had been resolved by the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the woman division.
He said, “I have been informed that there was a minor altercation at the filling station between the police inspector and one of our officers.
“But the DPO, under whom the policewoman was working came and the matter was resolved amicably.”
The Commissioner of Police, Airport Command, Wahab Salau, did not pick his calls and had yet to reply to a text message on the matter.
This is the second time a female police officer would be assaulted by an air force officer on the Airport Road.
On January 20, PUNCH Metro reported that a Chief Superintendent of Police, Felicia Victor, was slapped by a yet-to-be identified air force officer attached to the office of the Commandant, Airport Command, Group Captain, Victor Ajiboye.