It was a chaotic show of shame at the Borno State Government House in Maiduguri on Thursday as soldiers and policemen engaged in gun battle over rice and semo meant for internally displaced persons to mark the Ramadan fast..
The government has since Monday distributed large amounts of rice and Semovita to poor residents.
On Thursday, thousands of people converged at the entrance of the government building in Maiduguri, forming an lengthy queue of men, women and the aged who hoped for either a 25kg bag of rice or Semovita, or both.
As the distribution started, police barred vehicles from accessing the venue, except those on special permission.
At about 11am, a Nigerian Army truck showed up, insisting on gaining access to the venue where rice and Semovita were being shared.
Suspecting that the soldiers were trying to help themselves to the handouts, police officers demanded they turn back immediately.
This led to an argument and an angry soldier allegedly opened fire, injuring a policeman in the leg, witnesses said.
The police responded and gunshots rent the air as thousands gathered scampered for safety.
It took the intervention of other senior security officers to arrest the situation from degenerating.
One of the army officers drafted to help control the crowd, identified only as Idris, a lieutenant, did not go free, as angry policemen who accused him of instigating the crisis, beat him up.
It took the intervention of the commander of the operation Lafiya Dole, Lucky Irabor, a Major General, was called in by the Borno State Attorney General, Kaka Shehu Lawan, to restore order, reports Premium Times.