Nigerian Army personnel attached to
Exercise Crocodile Smile II have been
accused of killing an apprentice, Sadiq
Ismaila, 20, and fleeing with his body to
cover up the crime, The Nation has
reported.

The sad incident occurred around
1:30pm, at Oniru Block Village, Lekki on
Tuesday, where they left at least four
others injured, including Paul Abudu
and Bridget Afolabi.

But the Nigerian Army said the deceased
was a “notorious drug peddler, armed
robbery kingpin and that he first shot at
the soldiers.”

It was gathered that the soldiers, who
came in a convoy comprising three
armoured tanks and eight Hilux vans,
had on Sunday stormed the
neighbourhood shooting sporadically
before raiding 76 persons.

The residents scampered to safety at
hearing the gunshots. Of the people
raided, it was learnt that about 65 were
handed over to the Maroko Police
Division, which transferred them to the
Lagos State Taskforce on Environment.
Others were released at the army
barrack where they were allegedly
subjected to hard labour and made to
sleep in the open field. It was also learnt
that Ismaila was packing blocks in the
village when the problem started. He
abandoned them on hearing the
gunshots.

According to a food vendor, Rosaline
Adedipe, the soldiers shoot Ismaila,
because he refused to stop when the
soldiers ordered him to do so .

She said: “They shot him on the head.
He was packing blocks when the army
men started coming to his direction.
People were running and Sadiq ran too.
They told him to stop but he refused.

He ran towards the fence and it was
while he was standing by the fence that
one of them told the other one: “Wait! I
will kill him”.

“Then, that one fired a shot on his head
and Sadiq died on the spot. By that
time, they had arrested four other
persons. They now told the four men to
carry his body into their Hilux van and
they fled the area.

“This is the spot where it happened.
See his blood still showing on the
ground, despite that sand was used to
cover it up.

“What the army people did was very
wrong. Sadiq neither drank nor smoked.
He was just doing his legitimate job
and they killed him like that. Those
behind it should be arrested. Let justice
be done for Sadiq.”

Narrating his ordeal, Abudu told The
Nation that he was running like others
when they saw the soldiers but suddenly
fell.

“One of the army men followed me.
When I fell, he jumped on my arm with
his boot. I cried and he left me there.
That was how I broke my arm. I am not
a criminal. I do not smoke marijuana. I
ran because they were just arresting
people anyhow.”

Afolabi, who sustained leg injury, said
she fell while running to avoid being
victim of indiscriminate arrest.

Admitting that there were some people
who indulged in illegal drug abuse,
Afolabi said most of them were doing
legitimate business.

The Block Village Chairman, Bola
Ekundayo, decried Ismaila’s murder,
urging President Muhammadu Buhari
and Governor Akinwunmi Ambode to
probe his death.

Ekundayo said the operatives should
have done due diligence to arrest the
criminals, instead of killing innocent
people.

He said: “I know Sadiq very well. He’s
a young man from Oyo State. He just
recently finished learning tailoring. He
was packing blocks at the village to
save money.

“He neither drank alcohol nor smoked.
He was very gentle and respectful.
Most of us here are block makers. This
place used to be a ghetto where they
smoked marijuana but the police have
flushed most of them out.

“So, we renamed it Block Village
because we are into block business.
Why did they carry his body away after
killing him? Is it not because they
wanted to cover up their crime? When I
heard of the incident, I called the
Divisional Police Officer (DCO),
Maroko, on phone and told him but he
did not come. We are poor people here.
Everyone here is afraid because no one
knows when the army will come again
to cause another trouble.”

Condemning the incident, a lawyer and
President, Yoruba Council of Youths,
Aremo Hassan, wondered why the
soldiers would open fire on unarmed
civilians without provocation.

He vowed to get justice for Ismaila,
adding that he was already compiling
evidence to formerly report the
incident.

“I am at the scene. I have spoken to
some of the eyewitnesses and I have
also seen the spot where they shot
Sadiq. I have seen his blood-stained
clothe. This atrocity must not go
unpunished.”

In a broadcast message, Hassan
wrote: “Please I just got a distress call
that men of the Nigerian Army code
named ‘Crocodile Smile 2’ attached to
the Epe Army Barracks, without any
provocation have killed one innocent
man, Mr. Sodiq Ismail, 20, from Ona
Ara Local Government Area in Ibadan,
Oyo State.

“The soldiers left with the deceased
body in their armoured vehicles to cover
up their atrocities. The incident
occurred during their rampaging show
of strength. Kindly alert the whole world
of the evil, injustice and killings
committed by them.”

Contacted, spokesman for the 81
Division, Nigerian Army, Lieutenant
Colonel Olaolu Daudu said: “Acting on
credible information a raid was carried
out at about 2pm on October 17, on the
hideout of a notorious drug dealer as
well as kingpin of an armed robbery
gang one Ahmed Sadiq ( aka Bambi).

“The criminals opened fire on sighting
troops of Crocodile Smile II to escape
arrest. He was shot and died from
gunshot wound. Nine other suspects
were arrested and items recovered
include one live cartridge and several
empty cases of cartridges,
Exiplon expectorant liquid, tramadol
hydrochloride tabs, kukubima powder,
passion energy drink extrajoss powder
and wraps of marijuana.

“Above is not a reaction, but fact which
can be verified against spurious
allegations. The troops from all the
services, security agencies, paramilitary
and state parastataIs are guided by the
Rules of Engagement and Code of
Conduct.”

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