How Soldiers Beat Me To A Point Of Death In Ibadan – UK Based Nigerian, Akintokunbo Adejumo
Leader of Champions for Nigeria, CFN, a registered international umbrella organisation for patriotic Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora, Prince Akintokunbo Adejumo has given a chilling account of how soldiers paid with tax payers money and recently deployed to guard a Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, installation in Bodija area of Ibadan, Oyo state almost took life out of him for daring to comment on their negligence and dereliction of duty.
The narration of Adejumo who is still considering relocating to Nigeria from the United Kingdom where he has worked for almost three decades is as provoking as demanding for an urgent action against the wayward soldiers that brutalised the well respected CFN leader by the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen Azubuike Ihejirika. Below is the full account of his ordeal in the hands of the soldiers in this interview with ireports-ng.com:
“At around 2.30 am on the morning of Sunday, 22nd July 2012, a fire broke out in the Maintenance Section in the courtyard of the Offices of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN) Ibadan Regional Office on Ring Road, Ibadan. The building is known as Capital Building and has long been occupied by PHCN even when they were known as NEPA.
On one side of the courtyard, where PHCN vehicles were usually parked, adjoining the house of ex-Barcelona and Super Eagles star, Gbenga Okunowo, we saw the fire starting in one of the ramshackle wooden sheds along the walls of the courtyard. Within a short time, the fire was licking the vehicles parked in the courtyard.
My own house was on the other side of the PHCN compound, with my Mum’s flat and room, looking directly into the compound. As such, my house and Gbenga’s house abound the PHCN compound on both sides.
By this time, all the residents of the estate were gathered and we were all asking if the Fire Service had been called. Nobody seemed to know the number to call for the Oyo State Fire Service. Meanwhile the fire was spreading.
There are soldiers, maybe about 5 or 6 of them, posted in the PHCN compound, who were there for security reasons since the January 2012 Fuel Subsidy protests. These soldiers were nowhere to be found at this time.
Also since the gates to the PHCN compound were locked, none of the residents and landlords of the estate could get in to help tackle the fire.
I and another resident took my car and headed for the Oyo State Fire Service station at Challenge, but on our way, we met one of the Fire trucks struggling up the hills of Ring Road, apparently on its way to the fire, and which means someone had reached them before us. So I turned back and followed the slow-moving fire truck. Eventually it reached the site, and that was the first time I saw the soldiers posted to the PHCN compound, directing the fire truck.
The lone, ageing fire truck was grossly inadequate for the fire, which by now had been burning for well over one hour, and which had not only caught several PHCN vehicles in the courtyard, but had now caught on to the roof of Gbenga Okunowo’s house.
It was a lost battle for the lone fire service and the firemen, who had only one hose between them, and who were at a loss whether to tackle the burning cars or the burning roof.
By the time a second fire truck came to the scene, the whole roof of Gbenga’s house was totally burnt and collapsed inwards. Nothing could save the house.
However, the arrival of the second truck did some good in the sense that the fire was more easily controlled, and the burning cars were doused, and with the arrival of yet another fire truck around 4 am, the fire was finally controlled.
However, this could not save Gbenga’s house. The first floor was totally burnt out.
This could have been the end of the incident, however, I commented to other residents and landlords that I wonder why the soldiers who were posted to guard the building and the compound could not see the fire and control it before such a disaster happened, and that they must be punished, and that I suspect sabotage.
On hearing this one way or the other, the soldiers, who I had not seen taking part in controlling the fire, came out of nowhere, and attacked me, grabbing me by the shirt, slapping me several times and demanding from me what I had said. I repeated what I said and I was hauled to the ground and kicked several times.
It was the other landlords and residents who quickly intervened and saved me from further punishment.
My right side was aching and I had to go and see my doctor on Sunday morning, who gave me 4 injections to ease the pain. I was afraid my kidneys are affected, and up till Tuesday, 24th July 2012, the right side of my stomach and back was still paining me. I had another injection on Monday, and it was only on the examination by my doctor that he assured me I have not suffered any kidney damage.
However, I was attacked and brutalised by the soldiers of the Nigerian Army. Whatever I said should not have provoked any attack. They could have been annoyed for insinuating that they were negligent in their duties, but every residents on the estate are aware of their laxity since they were posted there. They are often see smoking dope, drinking and even bringing prostitutes inside the PHCN compound after dark.
I am at present thinking of taking this up with their Commanding Officer or whatever authorities are in charge of them.