The chairman of Senate Committee on Appropriations, Senator Solomon Adeola has alleged that soldiers of the Nigerian Army operating checkpoints around Ikeja axis of Lagos State were responsible for the killing of his senior aide, Adeniyi Oluwatosin Sanni, in the early hours of Saturday August 5, 2023.
The Senator’s allegation was contained in a statement he personally signed and made available to journalists in Abuja on Monday morning, through his media aide, Kayode Odunaro.
Recall that the bereaved Senator had earlier stated that information available to him on the circumstances indicated that Sanni was stopped at a checkpoint around the Ojodu- Berger Area of Lagos on his way to his home at Isheri by “security agents.”
The deceased was asked to provide the documents of the car he was driving, which he did through a call to his wife who sent all the documents to his phone through a WhatsApp message.
It was gathered that the wife called a while later and the late Sanni told him soldiers were still checking the vehicle’s documents.
That was the last she heard from her husband and the remains of Sanni, riddled with bullets, were later discovered at the Toyota Bus Stop area of Oshodi, close to a military barrack.
Adeola however gave an update about the investigation of the murder and armed robbery by the Nigeria Police Force in his statement on Monday.
The Senator said, “I am of the firm belief, based on available facts at the disposal of the Police that my aide was killed by a syndicate of soldiers operating under the newly deployed Commander of 9 Brigade, Ikeja Cantonment of the Nigeria Army, Brigadier General Nsikan John Edet, through mounting of checkpoints and robbing of lone occupants of cars.”
The Senator later clarified that Brigadier General Edet left the Cantonment in July this year after a stint from May. He said he handed over to the incumbent, Brigadier General AM Adetuyi.
“Top Police sources familiar with the investigation informed me that a similar brutal killing and armed robbery occurred around the same Ojodu- Berger late Thursday night of August 17, 2023 resulting in the killing of another Nigerian whose body was discovered around Iyana- Ipaja after he was taken away by soldiers from the checkpoint.
“Unknown to the soldiers, the occupant of the car they killed and took away his car was the second in a convoy of two heading towards the same destination.
“The first car passed the soldiers checkpoint but the second car was stopped to check his vehicle’s papers.
“On noticing the absence of the second car after a while, the occupant of the first car (name withheld) placed a call to his colleague in the second car who informed him that he was being taken to Iyana Ipaja by the soldiers at the checkpoint.
“That was the last he heard from him and his dead body was later discovered dumped on the road just like Mr. Sanni.
“The survivor in the first car reported the case to the Police and a pattern of armed robbery and killing in the area involving men in Army uniform was established.”
Adeola therefore called on the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Taoreed Lagbaja, to direct the fishing out of the killers of his aide for further investigation, prosecution and justice for the deceased.
He said such a pattern of killings and armed robbery had been established against soldiers mounting late night checkpoints around Ikeja with similar unreported incidents in recent times around Ikeja.
He added that the Nigerian Army cannot be seen to condone or harbour rogue elements robbing and killing innocent Nigerians within its fold.
“Till date, the black Toyota Camry of Mr. Sanni, his phones and other valuables are yet to be recovered,” he lamented.
In another development, the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army said it is investigating the alleged killing of one Lawal, who was said to have been killed by some persons in military uniform on August 17, 2023.
According to a statement by the Acting Deputy Director of Army Public Relations of the 81 Division, Lieutenant Colonel Olabisi Olalekan Ayeni, the allegation is still scanty but “81 Division Nigerian Army considers it appropriate to bring the occurrence to public notice and the steps taken to identify the alleged persons in military uniform, believed to be soldiers and bring them to justice if truly they are serving soldiers”.
He said that the Division was carrying out the investigation in conjunction with the Nigeria Police Lagos State Command to unravel the identity of the alleged suspects and the circumstances surrounding the alleged unfortunate incident.
He added that at the end of the probe, if the suspects are identified as serving soldiers, they will be made to face the full wrath of both military and civil laws.
“While the matter is under investigation, Headquarters 81 Division requests the family of the deceased to exercise patience and wait for the outcome of the investigation as whoever is found wanting will be made to face disciplinary action. The Nigerian Army has zero tolerance for troops’ misconduct or involvement of its personnel in any form of criminality, hence, will not allow this allegation to go unraveled,” the statement added.
The General Officer Commanding 81 Division, Maj Gen MT Usman, commiserated with the family of the victim while promising that justice would be served accordingly.
He assured the family of the deceased that whosoever killed their loved one will not be allowed to go unpunished.