A Lagos-based lawyer, Olajide Sipe, is currently fighting for his life in a private hospital following a serious beating and gunshot wound he received from some soldiers who also vandalised his car for daring to advice them on how to coordinate vehicles on the road.
The incident which happened at the 7th Avenue, FESTAC Town, Lagos State, involved four army officers deployed to the community to guard the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation pipelines, but who chose instead to abandon their duty post for the Mobil Filling Station on 23 Road to coordinate motorists queuing for fuel on Tuesday.
Narrating the horrible story of his encounter with the soldiers, Olajide, who is married with one child, said his only error was to have advised the soldiers who were reported to have stopped a bus on the road, thereby causing a gridlock, to park the bus by the roadside in order to free up the gridlock they had created.
According to the victim, trouble started for him when he went to buy water for his family. Hear his story:
“I went to buy bottles of water for my family and on my way back, I got to Mobil Filling Station and I discovered there was traffic, which was caused by a bus on the road.
“A solider stood in front of the bus and was telling the driver something. I was in my car when I advised him that he could have asked the driver to park by the roadside, instead of inconveniencing other road users.
“He asked who I was to advise him. I told him I was only trying to give a solution, but he started drawing closer to me with his gun. I was alarmed.
“Another officer stood at the front of my car and started kicking one of its headlights. He had a jerrycan in his hand with which he smashed my windscreen. As I drove off, I saw that they had become four and had mounted a motorcycle and were chasing me. I was afraid.
“When I got to 7th Avenue, I made a U-turn, but because they were coming with speed, they couldn’t do that. I looked back and saw one of the soldiers, kneeling down and aiming his gun at me. He shot at my car twice. The bullets deflated the two back tyres.
“I pulled up and came down to pacify them, but they pounced on me”.
It was learnt that residents who knew Olajide rushed him to the Mercy Gate Hospital, a private medical facility in the area while he later gave the contact of his family members after he regained consciousness. An eyewitness said Olajide Sipe would have been killed by the officers if not for the timely intervention of a senior military officer. The witness who did not want to be named said:
“What caught people’s attention were the gunshots. They used planks to hit his head and one of them carried a big stone to smash his skull.
“He was stabbed two times in the body. One of them wanted to use a dagger to cut him when a military officer, who was passing by, intervened. He showed them his ID card and that was when they left him. As they were going, they vandalised his car.
The Medical Director of Mercy Gate Hospital, Dr Solomon Ekundayo, revealed that Mr. Olajide Sipe sustained serious injuries. Hear him:
“When he was brought in, he was in a bad state; he had lacerations in the head, including one that was very deep. He was also traumatised, while his face was drenched in blood.
“We had to admit him and do everything possible to stabilise him and suture the lacerations. We will still need to investigate and ascertain the state of his internal organs. Injuries like this can affect the liver and other organs of the body and even the brain. We also plan to do a CT scan of the brain to find out the extent of the injuries to his brain”.
SP Dolapo Badmos, the Police Public Relations Officer, confirmed the incident saying: “We got a report that one Olajide Sipe, who lives in FESTAC Town, was attacked by four unidentified men in army uniform on 72 Road, FESTAC Town. Efforts are ongoing to trace the alleged soldiers.”
Also, the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Lt. Col. Kingsley Samuel, made it known that the army had contacted the victim and was making efforts to apprehend the culprits. He said:
“We are in touch with the victim and he has given us the details of what happened. We have started our investigations and will ensure that the culprits are punished. Nobody is above the law.”