Some lawyers have called on the Nigerian Army to identify the soldiers involved in the murder of 30-year-old Kehinde Adeleke, who was shot at Trans Amusement Park at Agbowo, Ibadan, Oyo State.
According to Punch Metro, they demanded that thorough investigations be conducted into the matter and the culprits diligently prosecuted.
Insideoyo.com had reported that Kehinde, his twin brother, Taiye, and their younger brother, Damola, had gone to Pete’s Bar and Lounge located on the park’s premises last Monday to have fun when an argument broke out between Damola and some visitors over parking space.
The bar owner, Seyi Olusa, aka Shadaluski, reportedly invited some soldiers attached to the Oyo State joint security outfit, Operation Burst, to the facility.
One of the soldiers was said to have hit Damola’s head with a stick on and he collapsed.
While Kehinde was protesting against the assault, Olusa allegedly collected the gun from one of the operatives and shot Kehinde in the neck.
It was also reported that the soldiers and men of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps blocked the gate and delayed a car that was taking the victim to the University College Hospital, Ibadan, where he was confirmed dead.
The family of the victim had petitioned the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Abiodun Odude, describing the attitude of a doctor who conducted a post-mortem on the corpse at the UCH as “unacceptable.”
They alleged that the hospital did not allow them and the Investigating Police Officer to witness the autopsy as promised.
While Olusa had been arrested by the police, the Officer-in-Charge of operations at Operation Burst headquarters in Ibadan, Captain Alkali Alkaleri, said the formation had no news on the identities of the soldiers involved in the killing.
But a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), on Sunday said the identities of the soldiers should not be difficult to determine since they belonged to a particular formation.
He urged the Nigerian Army to parade the soldiers at the formation so that the deceased’s twin brother could identify the culprits, adding that thorough investigations should be conducted into the incident.
Falana said, “The unfortunate incident has to be fully investigated by the police. The matter should not be casually handled by the police and the military authorities. Since the suspects belong to a special unit in the army, it should not be difficult to fish them out; moreso that the surviving twin brother can identify the soldiers. It can’t be a case of unknown soldiers.
“Once again, I call on the Federal Government to ban military personnel who are not on duty from wearing uniforms outside the barracks. In recent times, armed soldiers have taken advantage of their uniforms to commit armed robbery, smuggling, murder, among others.”
Another activist lawyer, Wahab Shittu, said the image of the army was at stake if the rogue soldiers were not identified and produced for investigations.
He said, “Now that it is clear that the soldiers were invited, the army authorities cannot say they cannot identify them. It will amount to serious embarrassment on the integrity of the Armed Forces not to fish out the men involved in the illegal operation.
“The person who fired the gun and the soldiers are parties to the offence and they are culpable. As such, all of them ought to be arrested and brought to justice. The army should cooperate in fishing out the culprits. We call on the Chief of Army Staff to urgently direct that the soldiers involved be brought to justice.”
The President, Committee for the Defence of Human Rights, Malachy Ugwummadu, said the conduct of the soldiers and the bar operator contravened Section 33 of the Nigerian Constitution, which recognised rights to life.
He said, “You cannot take that life in circumstances other than the sentence of a competent court. Anything short of that is a breach of that person’s right to life. It is in the interest of the Nigerian society that the man who shot the victim must provide the names of whoever gave him that gun.
“The person (soldier) who handed over the gun to him must explain the circumstances in which he had to hand over a lethal weapon to a private person for committing murder. The identity of every person involved must be revealed and prosecution taken with a view to putting an end to this reckless avoidable extrajudicial killing that has become rampant in our society.
“We are advocating a thorough investigation, prosecution and periodic reportage in a way that the victim would not have been killed unnecessarily and justice would be served at the end of the day.”