•CP Ogun orders investigation into killing
By Evelyn Usman, Esther Onyegbolam & Daud Olatunji
THE annual ‘Isheri Day’ celebration was marred by tragedy on Monday, after two youths were allegedly killed by drunk soldiers suspected to be from Ikeja Cantonment, during an altercation that resulted in a fight, at Isheri Olofin area of Ogun State.
This is coming barely one week after three operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT and two civilians were shot dead by troops of the 93 Battalion, along Ibi-Jalingo Road, Taraba State.
Vanguard gathered that the soldiers who were officially posted to Kara Market, in Ogun State, accompanied son of owner of the market, identified simply as Damola, to venue of the festival.
Explaining how tragedy struck, the Personal Assistant to the Oba of Isheri, Saheed Adeshina, said, “ On Monday, being August 12, 2019, we were celebrating our annual Isheri Day’ festival when Tiri Damola, son of owner of Kara Market came to the venue with some soldiers who acted as his body guards. We did not invite the soldiers to the ceremony. They were meant to secure the market.
The soldiers were drunk. We learnt that they started drinking since 9a.m, at the Golden Spring Hotel. One of them (soldiers) brought out a knife, as he led Damola to his seat. The knife slit one of the Base leaders, Adekunle’s hand, inflicting a deep cut.
“This caused confusion as everyone started asking the soldier why he did that. The soldier pointed his gun at me and everyone ran away in fear. In our attempt to chase the soldiers away, they shot a man in the leg . Another man was also shot. At this point, everyone, including women and children had fled in different directions for safety”
Injured man stabbed to death in the hospital
A man identified as Nuru Tayeshe, aka baby no dey cry said to have been urinating on the road, away from Local Government Primary, where fight broke out, was also hit by a bullet from the soldiers.
Another man, Dare Adelani, popularly called Atiku, who was shot was rushed to GENTALBERT Hospital. But the soldiers as gathered, trailed him to the hospital and stabbed him to death.
Information at Vanguard’s disposal had it that in the ensuing melee, angry youths attacked some of the soldiers, inflicting injury on one of them.
However, Saheed, said that the injured soldier, fell inside a gutter in his bid to shoot a commercial motorcyclist. Explaining how injured Adelani was killed by the soldiers in the hospital, Saheed, said, “ One of the soldiers wanted to shoot a bike man but he fell into the gutter and sustained injury on the head. He was rushed to the hospital for treatment. By the time his colleagues went to visit him at the hospital, they met one of our boys being treated by doctors. The soldiers ordered the doctors to stop treatment on the injured man. Right in front of everyone, they dragged the man down from the bed and stabbed him continuously, until he died.
When Vanguard visited the Palace of the traditional ruler, Oba Kabiru Shotobi, he confirmed that the incident occurred at about 7.30pm on Monday, adding that three persons were killed by the soldiers.
He said, “I heard the gunshots and saw people running helter-skelter. I called my children and asked what was happening, they said that soldiers had shot some people. Three persons died: one died on the spot while two persons who were rushed to the hospital also died, with several others injured. I need the authority to investigate this incident to know what has happened and bring the perpetrators to book”.
My late brother was on his way to work
Elder brother of late Adelani, Saheed Jimoh, said the deceased, 31, was going to work when he was stabbed to death.
He said, “He worked as a private guard at Opic. He was on his way to work when he was stabbed in the stomach. Not done, one of the soldiers shot him. When we rushed him to the hospital to see if he could be revived, the solders traced him to the hospital and finished what they started. All we demand is justice”.
When Vanguard visited venue of the marred celebration at the Local Government Primary School, there were blood stains at the entrance.
Narrating how he narrowly escaped being killed, one of those who survived the gunshots, Adekunle, said he was the first person to be inflicted with injury.
He said, “I was at the venue of the ceremony , when the soldiers stormed there. Two of them were in their camouflage while two others were in mufti. Some of them came in a motorcycle. They fired some shots to announce their presence. They were provoked because we asked what reputation had the person they led to the venue. When the chaos started, we tried to secure the soldiers, safety by leading them out of the school premises. But they started firing some shots in front of the school. One of the bullets hit Adelani who was urinating.
Another survivor, 32-year-old Ayobami Babatunde, an electrician, survived gun shot wound in the stomach. Also, Rasheed Adeleke, survived a gun shot wound in the leg.
CP Ogun orders investigation
Meanwhile, the Ogun State Commissioner of Police, CP Bashir Makama, has ordered a full scale investigation into the incident, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to book.
A statement issued by the Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Abimbola Oyeyemi, said,” Credible Information at the disposal of the Command has it that on the said date, four personnel of the Nigerian Army believed to be from Ikeja Cantonment and posted to Kara Market, left their beats and went to Isheri Olofin, a border town between Lagos and Ogun state where indigenes of the town were celebrating their annual “Isheri Day”.
“The soldiers had a minor disagreement with some youths which made them to start shooting sporadically into the air. “Consequently, one Damilare Adelani, was hit by bullets and he died on the spot. The ugly incident infuriated the people at the scene who in turn reacted violently against the soldiers leaving one of the soldiers and three other civilians injured.
“The soldiers quickly took their injured colleague to a hospital (name with-held) where they met one of the injured civilians being attended to by a Medical Doctor on duty. The Statement from the officials of the hospital revealed that the soldiers ordered the doctor on gun-point, to leave the injured man and attend to their colleague. They then dragged the patient out of the bed and subsequently stabbed him to death with a Bayonet attached to the muzzle of his rifle.
As at time of writing this report, the Nigerian Army was yet to react to the incident.
Our troops did not kill anyone — Army
However, the Army said nobody was killed by its troops at isheri Olofin.
A statement signed by the Acting Deputy Director, Army Public Information, Lieutenant Colonel Olaolu Daudu, said, “ The attention of 81 Division Nigerian Army has been drawn to a news story insinuating that soldiers of 9 Brigade on patrol were involved in the killing of three persons in Isheri Olofin Community of Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State on August 13, 2019.
“ The 81 Division hereby states that the patrol team in response to a distressed call, made a prompt intervention to forestall bloody clash among the “Isheri boys” who are allegedly referred to as a dangerous cult group terrorizing the community.
“It is important to also state that there was no firing or exchange of fire between the troops and the alleged cult group throughout the period of the troops’ intervention. However, one of our soldiers got a deep cut on the head arising from the troops’ efforts to avert lethal conflict in the community. The wounded has been evacuated to Gentalbert Hospital for first aid treatment from where he was subsequently transferred to the Military Hospital. He is responding to treatment at the moment. Peace has since been restored to the affected area.
“Members of the public are requested to disregard the news indicating the so called killing of three people in the area. The news is baseless and is therefore fake.
The General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj Gen JO Irefin once again assures the public of the resolve of the Division to protect life and properties of all law abiding citizens of the State and environs while urging the people to continue with their legitimate routine activities unhindered”.