The Nigerian Army has issued a statement denying allegations circulating in the media that a soldier attached to the 147 Battalion in Ikorodu, Lagos, beat a businessman to death in Ogun State.
The deceased identified as Adeola Oyekan, 40, was reported by his family to have died on Friday, March 24, 2017 after he was assaulted by soldiers from the battalion.
The deceased’s family further alleged that one Tunji who is said to be the son of the landlady whose house Oyekan was staying had invited some soldiers to deal with the deceased and his wife for being rude to his mother.
Oyekan’s wife further added that the soldiers after assaulting her late husband at home took them both to the barracks in Ita Oluwo where they were further assaulted.
The Nigerian Army in reaction to the allegation noted that it had conducted investigation into the matter and confirmed the allegations were baseless and untrue.
The denial is contained in a statement released by Brig. General Sani Usman, the spokesperson of the Nigerian Army.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the location where the incident took place, Ogijo, is in Ogun State and 174 Battalion does not have any deployment there, neither do any of our troops patrol the area,” the statement issued on Sunday, March 26, 2017 says.
“To further buttress this fact, a team was dispatched to Ogijo Divisional Police Station, Ogun State, to investigate the matter.
“It was confirmed that the incident dates back to 8th March 2017, one Mr. George (now late), was threatened by the son of his landlady that he will invite his soldier friends to come and beat him for failing to pay his rent which was long overdue. On the said day, the tenant was taken from the compound by three young men and beaten up.
“The case was reported to Ogijo police station. The parties involved were arrested and their statements taken.”
The Nigerian Army further revealed that the police wanted to take the case to court but the landlady and tenant opted to settle the matter out of court.
The Army in its statement continued: “The young men who carried out the beating were neither arrested nor their identity ascertained by the police.
“The police claimed the landlady son said he used his friends. The case was, however, treated as assault and discharged. No report was sent to the military authorities because no soldier was involved.”
In reaction to the source of the story which was posted online by one Kenny Abel Adesanya, the Nigerian Army threatened to initiate legal action against the social media user.
“We wish to call on Mr. Adesanya, all other persons that shared the story and the media to understand that Mr. George was not murdered by any soldier, let alone those serving in 174 Battalion and should correct this erroneous impression.
“Additionally, Mr Adesanya should render an unreserved apology to 174 Battalion in particular and the Nigerian Army, over this false allegation, failure of which would attract legal action against him.”