How Soldiers Brutalised Two Brothers In Lagos (Photo)


SOME men of the Nigerian Army may well need more reorientation on the reality that the country is in a democracy and that brutalisation of civilians is out of fashion.

This was the submission of Lasisi Sherifdeen and Ayorinde Adewale, two men who were allegedly brutalised on Friday evening by three soldiers close to Total Filling Station, Mushin, Lagos. According to the duo, they were taken to the barracks at the Armed Forces Resettlement Centre, Oshodi and forced to pay for repairs of a vehicle they said they were not guilty of damaging.

Sherifdeen said, “We were in a little traffic along Mushin Road, close to the Total Filling Station and Road Safety office; suddenly their bus was trying to manoeuvre through, creating a third lane in the process on the two-lane road, and brushing our car, a Sienna, as they made to get into our front. But rather than apologise, they came down in a commando-like fashion and started accusing us of brushing and damaging their bus.

“Surprised, my brother, Ayorinde Adewale, who drove the car, said ‘But you are the ones who brushed our car, this is a democracy, you should be apologising to us.’ This apparently infuriated them and they immediately dealt him blows. They also dealt me blows and tried to force my door on the passenger’s side open. Seeing that the door was locked, they moved over, opened the driver’s door and continued beating, dragging my brother out and stomping on him.”

Seeing that it was getting out of hand, we started pleading with them to let us go, but rather than soften down, they intensified the beating. I approached the one who looked the most senior and an officer, his name tag read: M. Bukar. He wore a rank with an eagle and a star, I think he’s a colonel; but he ignored me and they continued the beating, tearing my clothes in the process; you can see that I’m virtually in rags. Look at my brother’s face, it is full of bruises.

They also bundled my brother into the bus and ordered me to drive along to the barracks. As I made to drive the car, the door of my car, which they had forced open, brushed their bus. This further infuriated them and they intensified the beating. This time, they bundled me into the bus as well, while one of them drove my car. They totally ignored the crowd that had now gathered and was pleading with them to let us go.”

He added, “Inside their barrack at Oshodi, they ordered us to start rolling on the bare floor, while one of them went to get their panel-beater and painter. Thereafter, we were charged N13,000 for the replacement of one of their bus lights and for the damage on the panel. We told them we didn’t have enough cash but they told us to use our ATM cards or be locked up in the barrack until we could pay. So we went to an ATM at a First Bank branch in the barrack, where we withdrew the money and paid. It was only after that that we were allowed to go.”

Sherifdeen, who resides in Shasha, Akowonjo said the soldiers conduct was most unbefitting of proper training and sense of responsibility. He wondered why they should be treated like that in their country and hope that the Nigerian Army authorities would look into the matter.

When The Nation contacted the Army spokesperson attached to the barrack, Lt. Commander Patricia Onyekwere Friday evening, she claimed she was not aware of the incident but promised to get back to our correspondent after due consultation. She was yet to get back as at press time, Saturday evening, and was no longer picking or returning calls to phone.