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Soldier beats driver to death

A power - drunk soldier , identified simply as Sergeant Taiwo , has brought sorrow into the family of a 25- year -old commercial motorcyclist, Abu Alhaji, whom he allegedly beat to death.

Taiwo , aka Sir T , lives in Myyong Army Barracks , Yaba , and is reportedly in detention in the barracks.

The motorcyclist, father of a six- month-old child , was said to have taken a woman, who wanted to buy snacks , to an eatery in the Morroco , Shomolu area, while the soldier parked his Toyota Camry on the premises.

PUNCH Metro learnt that Abu was waiting to take the passenger back to her destination when Taiwo , who had gone to a beer parlor opposite the eatery , came back to pick his car.

It was gathered that while Taiwo reversed his car to exit the premises , the vehicle hit the back of the victim ’ s motorcycle.

Our correspondent learnt that as Abu struggled with the motorcycle , the woman arrived at the scene.

An eyewitness, Bolaji Oke, said the woman quickly hit the body of the car to alert the soldier not to run over Abu , who was still battling with the motorcycle.

“ The soldier came out of his car and slapped the motorcycle rider repeatedly . As the rider tried to explain to him what actually happened , he descended on him with blows and beat him up. The passenger fled in the process.

“ The soldier beat the rider until he could not stand on his feet ; and he left in his car. As he was beating the man , he said nothing would happen if he died . Everybody present was afraid to intervene because he is a soldier . Somebody informed his younger brother , who rushed to the scene. The case was reported at the barracks and the victim was taken to the Military Hospital in Yaba around 9pm on Friday, ” Oke said.

It was said that the incident was also reported at the Alade Police Station.

A resident of the area , who gave his name only as Collins , told PUNCH Metro , that Taiwo was notorious for intimidating people, adding that he recently ran into trouble with a major because of his attitude.

He said , “ Sometime in December , Taiwo slapped a man at the beer parlour, saying the man was staring at him . In the end , it turned out that the man was a major and he started begging him .

“ After that encounter , he had a disagreement with one of the women, who work at the beer parlour. He tore the woman ’ s clothes . I think he should pay for this . ”

There was disquiet at the victim’ s residence in the Badulaye area of Shomolu when our correspondent visited his relatives on Wednesday . Sympathisers thronged the residence to commiserate with the family.

Distraught Abu ’ s elder brother , Adamu Alhaji, who lives in Kano State where the victim hailed from , said he was relaxing in a mosque after observing Ishai ( 8pm) prayer when Abu ’ s younger brother , Shuaib Alhaji, informed him on the telephone that he had been hospitalised.

“ I took a night bus to Lagos . When I arrived around 11am on Saturday, I was taken to the hospital’ s mortuary. Abu died at about 7am on Saturday . Shuaib travelled to Kano on Monday to look after our parents because they have been weighed down since they learnt of Abu ’ s death , ” he added.

Adamu urged the army authorities to support the family to cater to their ageing parents and the deceased ’ s nursing wife , adding that the death was an irredeemable loss to the family.

He said , “ Abu was hard working and generous. He sent money every month to our parents and his wife . His son is just six months old . The soldier does not deserve to be in the Nigerian Army; he should be dismissed. ”

The acting Deputy Director , Army Public Relations , 81 Division, Lt. Njoka Irabor , said investigations were ongoing into the incident.

“ We cannot actually say anything until investigations are concluded on the issue, ” he added .

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer , SP Dolapo Badmos , who confirmed the story, said the command was working with the Nigerian Army to ensure the prosecution of the killer soldier .

She said , “ According to the information we gathered , the man ( Taiwo ) was reversing his car and hit the motorcyclist. It generated crisis and he beat him up. The motorcyclist fell and was rushed to a hospital where he died.

“ The case was reported to the police three days after the incident. The command was able to reach out to the army . We got a report that the man had been apprehended and the army wants to do the needful so that we can also follow up on the prosecution . ”

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