Contrary to Senator Yayi Olamilekan Adeola’s indictment of the Nigerian Army as the killers of his aide, Adeniyi Sanni, investigations by the police have shown that officers of the Army knew nothing about Sanni’s death.
Meanwhile, our correspondent reported earlier that the lawmaker lost his aide, Sanni, in the early hours of Saturday, August 5, 2023 under a mysterious circumstance.
Sanni was declared missing after calling his wife that he was at a checkpoint manned by some men in military uniform.
Moments later, the wife had raised the alarm that she could not reach her husband again.
A search party was immediately put in place and Sanni’s lifeless body was later discovered by the roadside.
The wife was said to have been contacted by passers-by through the next-of-kin phone number on Sanni’s driver’s licence that his corpse was dumped around the Toyota Bus-stop in Oshodi, Lagos with gunshot wounds.
Pained by the gruesome murder of his closest aide, Senator Adeola made damning allegations against the Nigerian Army, saying its officers killed Sanni and stole his car.
Adeola, in a statement through his media aide, Kayode Odunaro, had claimed that he was of the firm belief that soldiers from the 9 Brigade, Ikeja Cantonment of the Nigerian Army killed his aide.
He was of the firm belief that his 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 Edet, through the mounting of checkpoints and robbing of lone occupants of cars.
“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 car 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,” the Ogun West Senator alleged.”
Adeola did not mince words when he dragged the police into his allegation by stating that top police sources familiar with the investigation informed him that such killings had been taking place at the so-called military checkpoint.
Apart from Adeola, some young men in Lagos also complained of being harassed by the men in military uniform, whose targets are new cars moving on the road.
According to them, these men in military uniform go after new cars, kill their drivers and take away the cars.
Perhaps, Adeola relied on these pieces of information to buttress his conviction that Sanni was killed by soldiers of the Nigerian Army.
Apparently disturbed by the allegations of killing and robbery against its men, the Army said the allegations were being investigated with the police to unravel the identities of the killers in military uniform.
The acting Deputy Director of Army Public Relations, 81 Division NA, Lt. Col Olabisi Ayeni, had in August said the army was investigating the matter.
Allegation brings back memories of alleged EndSARS massacre.
After the Ogun West Senator raised allegations against the Nigerian Army, youths on social media wasted no time in having a recall of the much controversial ‘massacre’ at the Lekki Toll Gate during the EndSARS protest on October, 20, 2020.
To the teeming Nigerian youths, who have also been of the belief that protesters were massacred by soldiers during the EndSARS protest in Lekki, Adeola’s allegations were an attestation.
Once again, youths took to the social media to recall how soldiers allegedly shot at armless protesters in Lekki, reminding the Senator that he was one of those who denied that people were massacred at Lekki Toll Gate.
Arrest of suspects brings a twist.
However, Adeola’s “firm belief” that soldiers killed his aide became what many would call a ‘false allegation’, following the arrest of the suspected killers of Sanni.
Though it was established that the men were in military uniform during the operation, they had since confessed that they were never men of the Nigerian Army.
While parading the suspects at the police headquarters in Ikeja on September 18, the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Idowu Owohunwa, identified them as Fred Azeez Okunnu (43 years), Lucky Idudu Michael (33 years) and Adedigba Segun (26 years). They were arrested in Lagos and Oyo States.
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The men, who were named ex-convicts, were arrested with military camouflage vest, military jungle hat, military holster, jungle boots, and one Red Honda CRV registered as, EKY 276 JD.
The CP had revealed that the gang was being armed by one Alhaji in Benin Republic, who specializes in robbing motorists of their unregistered vehicles.
How we killed Sanni – Suspects confess
Okunnu, the oldest of the three suspects narrated that the incident happened at Ojodu Berger area, around midnight on August 5.
“One of us, who was ahead of us, gave a signal that a car was coming with no number plate. It was a black Toyota Camry, a 2017 model. Lucky was putting on a (military) camouflage uniform, and holding a torch.”
“Lucky stopped the car on the other side. I ran down to join him. I asked the man (slain aide) for the document of the car. The man was on a call.”
“He (Sanni) said the document was right inside the car. Then the man said, ‘What else do you guys want again? I’ve given you guys everything you wanted.’ He started shouting for help, he pulled out and was screaming ‘Thief’. He wanted to raise the alarm.”
“So, I shot at him, and before I knew it, Lucky also fired shots, which hit the man and he fell. My partner, Segun, and I decided to put him in the back of the seat and we drove off. He was still breathing, but he was still shouting.”
“My partner then stabbed him and I asked him why. We then dropped him by the side of the road and drove down to Abeokuta, Ogun State.
It was from there we moved to Iseyin, en route to Benin Republic,” the suspect confessed.
Eaglesforesight gathered that the confession of the suspects was in sharp contrast with the claim of the Senator that those who murdered his aide were soldiers from the Ikeja Cantonment of the Nigeria Army.
I will soon react to circumstances surrounding my aide’s death – Adeola insists
Our correspondent contacted Senator Adeola for his comment following the arrest of the suspects by the police.
It appears Adeola is not yet convinced that the assailants were not men of the Nigerian Army.
Speaking through his media aide, Odunaro, Adeola said he would still react officially to the circumstances surrounding the death of Sanni based on the information at his disposal.
“While appreciating the efforts of the security agencies, particularly the Nigeria Police Force and the media for the current development in the case, the Senator is monitoring the development in the investigation, including the recovery of military items and the trans-national revelation.
“In due course, he (the Senator) will officially react to the circumstances surrounding the death of his aide with information available to him on the sad incident. Thank you for your interest,” Odunaro told our correspondent.