A commercial driver, Bolaji Sunday, has been hospitalised after two yet-to-be-identified soldiers allegedly shot him for parking his vehicle at the front of the Oriental Transport Company around Magboro Bus Stop, in the Obafemi Owode Local Government Area of Ogun State.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Sunday left his residence and drove to the location to meet someone who wanted to connect him with a customer.
When he got to the front of the company reportedly guarded by soldiers, Sunday parked his vehicle.
The driver was said to be on his way to meet the person that wanted to connect him with his customer when the leader of the soldiers challenged him for parking at the spot.
As Sunday was trying to give an explanation, our correspondent gathered that the two soldiers demanded the key to his vehicle and ordered him to sit in a gutter.
Upon realising that the driver was still explaining his reason at the location rather than complying with the order, the soldiers descended on Sunday and shot two tyres of his vehicle.
In a desperate attempt to protect his life, the driver, while writhing in pain on a sickbed at the Real Divine Hospital in the Ibafo area of the Obafemi Owode LGA, told our correspondent that he started running, adding that one of the soldiers allegedly shot him at the back.
He said, “I came out on Saturday to meet the person that will give me the number of the customer I was to carry on Sunday. So I parked my vehicle at a location around the Magboro Bridge. I was going to meet the person when the commander of the soldiers asked why I parked my bus at the location and requested my key. He later told me to sit inside the gutter.
“I did not steal anything; I was just waiting for my customer. But before I knew it, they started beating me with a belt. When I tried to hold the belt, they broke my windscreen and shot two of my tyres. I quickly jumped down and started running away for my safety but the soldiers shot my back and I fell inside the gutter.
“While in the gutter, I started calling for help but no one came to my rescue because they were afraid. It was later that a driver, who was travelling to Ibadan, Oyo State, helped me. The driver brought me out of the gutter and drove me to the hospital. They shot me in the back and arm; the bullet penetrated through and came out from the other side of my body.”
While assessing Sunday’s condition at the hospital, our correspondent observed that he looked pale with bandages tied around his neck and chest. Also, about six drip containers were hung beside him.
Sunday’s wife, Oluwatosin, who expressed sadness over her husband’s condition, said despite her husband’s pleas to the soldiers to allow him to drive the vehicle away from the location, they refused and allegedly shot him.
She said, “My husband just wanted to collect the number of one of his customers at the location where he parked his vehicle. But the soldiers came out suddenly and asked him to sit in the gutter.
“I wondered what he did wrong; he pleaded that they allow him to drive his bus away from there but the next thing the soldiers did was to burst his tyres. It was when my husband made an effort to run away that the soldiers shot him. The soldiers also destroyed his windscreen.”
In the pictures in possession of our correspondent, it was observed that the windscreen and door of Sunday’s vehicle had been damaged. One of the deflated tyres was also seen as broken glasses littered the floor of the bus.
Our correspondent later visited the scene of the attack to speak with eyewitnesses.
A motorcyclist, who gave his name simply as Jubril, said the soldiers might be guarding a company close to the Magboro Bridge, adding that Sunday unknowingly parked close to the company.
He added, “The driver should not have argued with the soldiers. If I were the one, I would just beg them and go. I don’t blame the driver and I don’t support the actions of the soldiers but I don’t think he (Sunday) should have engaged in a scuffle with them.”
Reacting to the development, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Omolola Odutola, said efforts were on to track the fleeing soldier who shot the victim.
She said, “The incident occurred at Magboro Bus Stop, where Oriental Transport Company usually park their vehicles. The soldiers attached to the company asked Bolaji Sunday, 35, to move the vehicle he parked in front of the company away, an argument ensued and one of the soldiers fired him.
“Sunday was rushed to the hospital where the Divisional Police Officer is in communication with him and he is also responding to treatment. No other available information has reached the police as to the real reason for that extent of provocation; residents were appeased to remain calm while effort is ongoing to track the unidentified fleeing soldier.”
Contacted on Monday, the spokesperson for the 81 Division of the Nigerian Army, Lt. Colonel Olabisi Ayeni, said he would find out about the case and get back to our correspondent.
“Give me some time; let me find out what really happened. Let me investigate it, I’ll get back to you,” he told our correspondent.
Calls made to Ayeni’s mobile number on Tuesday to get an update regarding the investigation were not answered.