Army, police at war again over death of three in Lagos
Just a week after some soldiers shot dead three police officers in Ibi, Taraba State, some military personnel attached to the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army have killed three residents of Isheri Olofin, a boundary community between Lagos and Ogun states.
Two of the deceased were identified as Damilare Adelani and one Tayese.
According to reports, the trouble started on Monday when the community staged the ‘Isheri Day’, an annual carnival.
The soldiers were reported to have accompanied one Tiri, an indigene of the community laying claim to the Kara Market, to the festival.
Tiri was said to have been engaged in a supremacy battle with another powerful family in the community over the control of the market, which is a settlement in Ogun State along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, just before the Berger bus stop in Lagos State.
Some of the people at the festival reportedly resisted the soldiers, who attempted to make way for Tiri to pass in the midst of the crowd.
The issue was said to have degenerated to a free-for-all, as the soldiers, who were allegedly trying to protect their principal, opened fire on the residents.
While two persons were said to have died on the spot, another resident, identified as Adelani, who sustained gunshot injuries in the leg, was rushed to hospital.
The soldiers were reported to have mounted a motorcycle and fled the scene.
We have declared the soldiers wanted – Police
The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Abimbola Oyeyemi, however, said the soldiers involved in the fracas had been declared wanted.
Oyeyemi explained that statements from eyewitnesses revealed that the soldiers dragged a resident out of the hospital, where he was being treated, and stabbed him to death with a bayonet.
He stated, “The Commissioner of Police, Bashir Makama, has ordered a full-scale investigation into the Isheri Day shooting incident in Ogun State on August 13, 2019, by suspected soldiers believed to be from the Ikeja Cantonment, with a view to bringing the suspects to justice.
“Credible information at the disposal of the command has it that on the said date, four men of the Nigerian Army, believed to be from the Ikeja Cantonment and posted to the Kara Market, left their beats and went to Isheri Olofin, a border town between Lagos and Ogun states, where the indigenes of the town were celebrating their annual Isheri Day.
“The soldiers, on getting there, had a minor disagreement with some youths, which made the soldiers to start shooting repeatedly into the air. Consequently, one of the victims 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 civilians injured.
“The soldiers quickly took their injured colleague to a hospital, where they met one of the injured civilians being attended to by a medical doctor on duty.
The 81 Division of the Nigerian Army in Lagos State on Wednesday declared that no one was killed by its patrol team at Isheri Olofin Community in the state.
The Army Spokesperson, Lt.-Col. Olaolu Daudu made the clarification in a statement that there was no firing by the soldiers on patrol in the community.
Daudu said: “The attention of the Division has been drawn to a story insinuating that soldiers of 9 Brigade on patrol were involved in the killing of three people in Isheri Olofin Community on Aug. 13.
“The Division hereby states that the patrol team, in response to a distress call, made a prompt intervention to forestall bloody clash among the ‘Isheri boys”.
“These Isheri boys are allegedly referred to as a dangerous cult group terrorising the community,” he said.
Daudu said it was important to also state that there was no firing or exchange of fire between the patrol team and the boys.
According to him, there was no exchange of fire between the alleged cult group and the patrol team throughout the period of the intervention.
“However, one of our soldiers got a deep cut on the head arising from the team’s efforts to avert lethal conflict in the community,” Daudu said.
He said the wounded was taken to the Gentalbert Hospital for first aid treatment from where he was subsequently transferred to the Military Hospital.
“He is responding to treatment at the moment and 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 (GOC) 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Maj.-Gen. JO Irefin, once again assures the public of the resolve to protect lives and property of all law-abiding citizens of the state and environs.
“He urged the people to continue with their legitimate routine activities unhindered,” the GOC said in the statement.