•We got married less than 2 years ago, my baby is 2 months old –Widow
March 26, 2022, was a sad day for the family and friends of Adeline Yinka, a 37-year-old car dealer. That day, he was allegedly beaten to death by some soldiers after an argument broke out at a bar in Fadahunsi, Imo Street, Ilesa, Osun State.
Yinka’s 79-year-old father, David, said he woke up with joy and ended the day with sadness because his only son died as a result of severe punishment inflicted on him by the troops of the Nigeria Army from Ibodi Barracks, Ilesa.
Findings showed that a soldier whose name could not be ascertained was drunk before the arrival of Yinka and his friends, who were also drunk before arriving at the bar. And a joke by the drunk soldier, asking why another drunk man sagged his trousers, led to fisticuffs, which eventually led to the death of Yinka, while his friend is still battling to survive from the torture received at Ibodi Barracks.
Langushing in anguish, Yinka’s wife, Funke, who was carrying her two-month-old baby, said the officers of Nigeria Army terminated her less than two years old marriage and prevented her child from knowing her father.
“I married about one and half years ago and the Nigerian Army terminated my marriage. My firstborn was just two months old when they killed my husband. Where will I start from? We hope that government will not sweep this under the carpet,” Funke said.
Trouble started on Thursday, March 24, at a bar in Fadahunsi, where Yinka and his friends went to catch some fun. They were said to have met a man who challenged Ogundare Solomon, Yinka’s friend, for refusing to use a belt but sagged his trousers.
Apparently, not knowing the man was a soldier, because he was in mufti, Yinka and his friend damned and shunned him. Then a fight broke out. One of them broke a bottle to scare away the man but in the process a small piece of the broken bottle hit the soldier’s hand. That was how the nightmare started.
A witness explained that the arrival of other soldiers made Yinka and his friend realise they were engaging an army officer and they quickly ran away. Solomon could not escape and he was whisked to the barracks in a Lexus 350 car that the fleeing Yinka brought to the bar. When he was eventually caught the following day, Yinka did not live to tell the story, and his friend, Solomon, who was placed on oxygen for some days, is still struggling to survive.
Elder sister to Solomon, Elizabeth Itunu, who is staying with him at the hospital, narrated the story to Daily Sun.
She said: “In the evening of Thursday, March 24, I received a call that a soldier arrested my younger brother. I went to Ibodi Army Barracks that night. They brought him out. He had been beaten seriously. When I inquired to know what he did. He said the soldier asked him why he didn’t use a belt at a beer parlour. He confessed that he asked what concerned him, because he didn’t know he was a military man.
“When the soldier was explaining to me, he said they hit him with a chair because he was playing with him that he refused to use a belt and sagged his trousers. His story I later found to be lie when I got to the beer parlour.
“Well, they said we would pay N500,000 if they will release him. I begged them that we could not get such an amount. He said we should go and sell the vehicle; if we see a buyer, they should come and take it.
“I was told that he was a Yoruba man but he pretended as if he didn’t understand Yoruba language and was speaking English. He later reduced the money to N300,000. I negotiated to N150,000.
“I went to the barracks on Friday to give my brother drugs when he complained of body pain but they didn’t allow him to collect the drugs. I quickly rushed to look for Yinka so that we could raise the money together. He said his ATM card was in his car. When we got there on Friday evening with Yinka, a soldier, who said Yinka broke a bottle and a small piece hit his finger, identified him and started beating him. They beat him so much that he couldn’t stand anymore. He was vomiting because they were many of them that beat him.
“We got N100,000 and Yinka said we should withdraw the remaining N40,000 from his account. The man rejected it, insisting that it must not be less than N300,000. I left there on Friday evening and I returned on Saturday morning. We met the two of them, Yinka and my brother, cutting grass. They were still beating them as they worked. My brother told me that his friend was vomiting some substance from his mouth inside the guardroom at night. The soldiers asked him to start eating it and he ate the vomit again. He couldn’t urinate.
“While they were cutting grass, Yinka fell. They thought he was pretending and they took him to the guardroom. My brother told me that they knocked his head on the ground and started beating him when he fainted. They said he was pretending. When they realised that he was not pretending, they took him to the hospital. They had seized his phone. We couldn’t reach his family. We were at the barracks, we didn’t follow them to the hospital.
“Yinka’s father later came to the barracks and they asked him to meet them at Ayeso Police Station. We then went to Ayeso Police Station, where we discovered that the boy had died. My brother was in the soldier’s car. We followed them in our car.
“When we got there, my brother was agonising in pain. It was then they said he should be taken to the hospital in the Bolorunduro area. They requested for a police report and they didn’t attend to him until they brought a police report. He was placed on oxygen immediately.
“It was then the soldier started begging us that we should not write damaging reports, if they ask for our statement. He was telling his colleagues in the Hausa language to settle the DPO so that he can pervert the matter, not knowing that I understood what he said.”
When our correspondent visited the landlord of the building where the bar was sited, the old man, who simply identified himself as Daddy Sanya, said he could not explain how it happened because he always stayed indoors since his wife died in November 2021.
“Since my wife died in November 2021, I don’t usually go out. I am the only one at home. I heard their voices but, I swear, I couldn’t go to them. It was the following day that I knew what happened. I think the person I gave the land transfered the shop to the woman. On Saturday, I discovered that she didn’t open. It was then they told me that someone died during the fight,” the man said.
The bar was locked when our correspondent visited the place and shopowners in the area said the previous owner of the place that was familiar had just leased it out to the woman, who was occupying the bar.
When contacted, the owner of the bar, Sunday, said he leased the place to an attendant and her number was not reachable since the incident. He said he didn’t know her residence and promised to look for her to get the details of what transpired that day.
A shopowner beside the beer parlour, who was reluctant to talk to the press, said some traders in the area closed on Thursday when the incident happened.
However, the family of Yinka has petitioned the Assistant Inspector-General of Police (AIG) Zone 2, calling for investigation into alleged conspiracy by the police and the Nigerian Army to pervert justice.
A copy of the petition copied the Osun State Commissioner of Police, Olawale Olokode, and made available to Daily Sun alleged that the Nigerian Army has been making efforts to collude with the police to twist the story and turn it against the deceased.
Eventually, the owner of the bar, where the incident happened, who simply identified herself as Mummy Oyin, said: “The day this thing happened, I was not inside the shop. They met the soldier in my shop. I was attending to customers behind the shop. I didn’t know they had issues with the soldier. I just came and told them to leave my shop.
“The only thing I noticed was that they were drunk from where they were coming from. When I entered, one of the soldiers called me to report them. I was with the solider when one of them came and asked me about the price of cigarette he took. I heard the solider playing with him that why did he sag? He shunned the solider and went out. It was after that that a lady was telling me they had issues with the soldier.
“I went out immediately to tell them that I don’t want problem and to tell them that those that sat there were soldiers. One of the soldiers came to show them his identity card and that was what I saw last.
“Immediately they discovered he was a soldier, two of them ran away, except the guy that died. It was later people told me that the soldiers reinforced and pursed the man.
“The soldier that had issues with the guys has been my customer. The first time he came, he put on his uniform. He stopped wearing uniform because he said people would be afraid of coming to my shop if they see him.
“I was surprised when I heard that Ojeere died the day after this incident. That was why I closed my shop.”
However, efforts to speak with the soldier proved futile as calls made to Lieutenant Akindapo Tobi, who was said to be the superior officer at Ibodi Barracks, were not answered. Messages sent to his phone were not replied as well. A source from the barracks said investigation has commenced and no officer could speak on the matter.
Also, it was gathered that the state police command, having received the petition by the lawyer to the family of the late Yinka, visited Wesley Guild Hospital, Ilesa, to examine the body.
The police public relations officer in the state, Yemisi Opalola, denied the allegation that police were trying to cover up and twist the matter, saying: “The DPO only helped the soldiers to call the mortuary when they were asked to bring a police report.” She promised that police would not conspire to pervert justice.
Meanwhile, Major Ikedichi Iweha, assistant director, Army Public Relations, 2 Division, Nigerian Army, said investigation was still on and appropriate action will be taken after the investigation.