The Osun State Police Command has said the Nigerian military police from Ibadan, Oyo State, arrested the soldiers involved in the killing of a car dealer, Adeyinka Adekunle, at the Army Barracks, Ibodi, Osun State.
Adekunle, 37, died after he was tortured by soldiers from the Ibodi Barracks on the orders of one Lt. Tobi Akindapo.
The deceased, with his friends, was said to have engaged in a squabble with some soldiers in mufti on March 24 after the latter challenged them for not using belts to hold their trousers.
This enraged Adekunle, also known as Ojeere, who queried the authority under which the soldiers were challenging them.
Meanwhile, the soldiers never identified themselves as officers and being in the same age group, the issue resulted in a fight.
Narrating the incident to SaharaReporters, a sister of one of the affected men, Elizabeth Itunu had said, “The soldiers asked for N500,000 but I negotiated to N150,000 but they insisted on N300,000. I informed Ojeere but he told me he didn’t have up to but that he had N40,000 with him. He said when we get there and beg them, they might listen to us so I said let’s go with an aged person, possibly they would respect such person and listen to us. Ojeere said it might be too late for them to attend to us. That was around 8pm.
“When we got there that day, as they sighted Ojeere, they pounced on him and beat him with ‘koboko’ (horsewhip), hit his head with wood, they threw him into the mud. I wanted to capture the incident on my phone but the soldiers seized my phone, they wanted to destroy my phone.
“On Saturday, I returned there and saw my brother and Ojeere cutting grass, I got them food to eat. My brother told me that Ojeere puked at night and the soldiers asked him to eat his vomit. He was telling them he was sick, but they kept beating him. That morning, he was very weak, he was already fainting. They kept beating him, he was falling; they didn’t stop.
“We told them to allow us to take him to the hospital and that he was sick, but they didn’t believe us until he fell. They intensified the beating thinking he was pretending but when they saw that he wasn’t breathing, they said they were taking him to the hospital. We remained in the barracks, not long after that, Ojeere’s father came with his uncle.
“Before his death, I had asked Ojeere for the contact of any of his family members but he said their numbers were in the phone, whereas the soldiers already seized his phone.”
Speaking with PUNCH on Monday, the spokesperson for the police in Osun State, Yemisi Opalola, absolved the command of any blame.
She said, “The DPO of Osu mentioned by the family did not know anything about the incident because he was not notified of it. The military officer called the DPO of Ayeso because they knew each other and he told the DPO on phone that he wanted to deposit a corpse in the morgue (Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa), and the attendants refused to take it in.
“The DPO thought it was the corpse of a colleague of the military officer, since he wasn’t aware of the unlawful killing and moreover the case was not reported. He just told the mortuary attendants to accept the corpse since he knew him. That was how the police got involved in the case.
“By the time the police got to know about what really transpired, some military police from Ibadan had come and arrested the army personnel involved.”
On the petition written by the deceased’s family to the police, she said, “The CP and the Osun Police Command are working on that petition.”