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NIGERIA: Untold story of how guard was murdered

Late SolomonAs family petitions police
For Solomon Thomas, a 36 year-old security guard who was  murdered at his duty post on a parcel of land situated at Coker Estate, Shasha, Lagos ,by an unknown assailants,  fate couldn’t have been more cruel.

The Eket, Akwa-Ibom State born father of two, who could not further his education to   tertiary institution because of his humble background,  took a run-off-the- mill job as a security guard for a paltry sum,to take care of his two siblings and an aged mother.

He  had envisaged  giving his siblings the best  within his capability  until  Saturday morning of January 19, 2013 when he was   shot dead at his duty post by unknown persons.

Investigation revealed that Solomon and his co-workers had resumed for duty that fateful  morning , only to be allegedly  confronted by a two-truck load of armed policemen from the ‘Area M’ Command, Idimu,Lagos.

While others were said to have taken to their heels on sighting the policemen, Solomon who  at that time was  changing  into his security uniform, was reportedly arrested by the policemen said to be at the site to provide security for an unnamed land grabber contending ownership of the parcel of land.

He was  reportedly taken to Idimu Area command but was released shortly afterwards , after a lawyer to his employer, Mr. Leo Ikeagwu contacted the Area Commander.

Tragedy, however,  struck after he made his way back to the parcel of land .  He was said to have called his colleagues to return,saying, that the police had released him. But no sooner  had Solomon and his colleagues got back to their duty post than an  armed group allegedly swooped on them,  firing sporadically, in the process of which  Solomon was gunned down while others  who  were hit by stray pellets in their hands and legs respectively, managed to escape.

Policemen at the nearby Shasha police station reportedly  raced to the scene  only to meet Solomon  in the pool  of his blood.He was rushed to a nearby hospital but unfortunately,died moments later.

Narrating in tears how he received the news of the death of his elder brother, Samuel Thomas, a university undergraduate said:“It is difficult to believe that my elder brother, Solo, is dead.  As he was about leaving for work that  Saturday,  I asked him to give  me some money with which to go to Badagry with our mother, over a land issue. He gave us what he had and left. When we came back, I dialed  his number  but there was no response and  I became worried.

Next day, we received a letter from one Isiaka  Adedokun, the Chief Security Officer in charge of  Coker Estate, to come to Shasha Police Station, that Solo was with them.  Initially,  we thought there  might have been  a fight between him and somebody else.   But again, I said to myself that Solo is such a gentle man and therefore,  could not  afford to fight  with anybody  for whatever reason.  It was later we were told that he was shot dead by some thugs hired by a man  that  is contending the land with Solo’s boss, Engineer Adetokunbo Olowole Coker.

Solo had told  me that there had been an age-long scramble for ownership of the land  where he worked and that in 2007, a Lagos high court sitting before Justice L .A. Okunnu gave an interlocutory injunction restraining the contender  from the land until the determination of the substantive suit last year. But the contender  too got a counter ruling by another Lagos high court , granting him access in and out of the said parcel of land. He said  since then , the man  had been using thugs to harass and intimidate him and his colleagues.

He was planning to resign and look for another job because of the matter.  It is  painful that, the land matter  has claimed the life of my brother.

We learnt that  his assailants  even  trailed  the corpse to a private hospital in Shasha with a view to snatching it, until Policemen from Afoka were alerted.

Trying hard not to betray his emotion,   Samuel Thomas continued: “As I speak to you, I do not know how to break the news to our mother because she may collapse.

Each time she called to know the whereabouts of Solo ,I would simply lie that the Police case he had was over and that Solo just went out”

But again, I  must confess that I am not  happy with  the way and manner the police are handling the matter. One week after his death, I went to the Isolo General Hospital where his body was deposited only to discover that he was not even embalmed. He was just dumped on a platter and left to decompose; ostensibly again, to kill evidence”

Crime Guard investigation showed that the Lagos State Commissioner of Police , Mr Umar Manko has mandated the Homicide section of the State Criminal Investigations Department to investigate the murder, following a petition by the bereaved family.

“ All we are asking the police to do for us is to fish out killers of my brother and prosecute them.  That is only way his departed soul will rest in peace.” Thomas stated.

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