The Nigerian Army has asked for forgiveness after shooting and killing 20-year-old Sodiq Ismail according to the Chairman of Block village, located at New Market, Lekki Phase One, Lagos State, Chief Bola Ekundayo.
Ekundayo said that the leader of the ‘Operation Crocodile Smile 2,’ Major Ibrahim, sent his apologies to the leaders of the community. Ibrahim allegedly implored the family of the deceased and community members, not to pursue the case further.
Ekundayo disclosed that members of the community had been living in fear since Sunday, which was the first time the soldiers stormed the community. He said that over 75 youths in the community, who committed no crime, were arbitrarily arrested and detained by the soldiers.
He said that the soldiers, who returned on Tuesday, started shooting for no reason and in the process, killed Ismail. He recalled that on Sunday that the soldiers came, they accused community members of harbouring criminals.
The Founder and President of Yoruba Council of Youths Worldwide, Aremo Oladotun Hassan, said that among those that carried Ismail’s corpse into the van were Musa Mahummed, a tricycle operator and Adamu Dandi, a block moulder. He said that the two youths are still in the soldiers’ custody.
He said: “The Commanding Officer that led the Operation Crocodile Smile 2 is Ibrahim. He was the person that carried out the devilish operation. The soldiers are from Epe Barracks. On the day they killed Ismail was also the same day that the Lagos State Government brought a letter of eviction to the community.
The development has shown a conspiracy from the state government because they have arrested 76 youths from the community, which I think, is a plan to put fears into hearts of members of the community so that by the time they picked up the youths, they would be able to come the next day to demolish houses in the community easily.
We’re afraid because we don’t know if the state government is behind the behaviour of the soldiers. “I believe strongly in democracy; there’s a need to shift from the old norms, which are still present in our nation. I believe the Nigerian Army has not learnt from their past mistakes. What the military did is highly irresponsible.”
Hassan condemned the army spokesman, Olaolu Dauda, for claiming that Ismail was a criminal, even without first bothering to pay a visit to the scene of crime. Hassan said: “The Army spokesman has not visited the scene of crime; instead, he started speaking from his boardroom, dictating what he didn’t know.
Ismail was killed at a block industry. Ismail was working there when they killed him. He worked at that industry to get his daily bread. He was loading block into a truck when the soldiers came into the village and everyone scampered for fear.
“As the boy was climbing the fence to escape, they shot him. If the fleeing youths were armed as the army spokesman claimed, there would have been many casualties. The soldiers met a 20-year-old, a boy that couldn’t hurt a fly and killed him. I advised that an independent panel should be constituted to investigate the issue.”
When Major Ibrahim was contacted, he declined to speak and switched off his phone. The spokesman of the Army, 81 Divisions, Lt. Col. Olaolu Dauda, said that he spoke and acted based on reports given to him.
This was even as he maintained that the army still stands on it report, that the Block Village was a hideout for criminals. He said that the operation was carried out to reduce crime in the state.