AFP. 1 February 2002. Nigerian government declares police "mutiny,"
brings in army.

LAGOS -- The Nigerian government late Friday declared a police strike
under way in several cities to be a "mutiny" and brought in the army to
man senstive areas.

"We do not regard the action as a strike but as a mutiny," Police
Affairs Minister Stephen Akiga said in a statement sent to AFP and read
out on national television.

For the duration of the strike "all sensitive points will be manned by
the military," said Akiga, condemning what he called an "unnecessary"

Police in several cities, including the volatile main city of Lagos,
went on strike on Friday to press for the payment of wage arrears, an
improvement in working conditions and several years' worth of

In Lagos, the withdrawal of thousands of police officers below the rank
of inspector caused banks to close for fear of robbery and sparked chaos
on the roads as traffic police stayed at home

Discontent over pay and delayed promotions is rife within the force,
which is on the frontline of the fight against crime in the country.

"Normally, we have two police at the door of the bank but today they
failed to turn up," said one banker, who spoke on condition that his
bank was not identified.

Radio Nigeria reported police were on strike in places as far apart as
the southern state of Cross River and northern Nigeria's Taraba and
Adamawa states.

In Taraba, police were patrolling but were not standing guard at public
buildings and banks, Radio Nigeria said.

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Barry Stoller

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