A soldier, simply identified by his name tag as Emmanuel B.J., on Wednesday battered a commercial bus driver, Mr. Moshood Olaniyi, at the Ojodu-Berger Motor Park in Lagos State for allegedly sneering at him.
The soldier initially pounced on Olaniyi and thrashed him with horse whip before he used his fists to punch him.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Emmanuel ignored pleas by passersby and food vendors at the park.
Instead, he removed the vehicle’s key from the ignition and dragged Olaniyi down from the bus and battered him the more.
The soldier held Olaniyi’s waistband and threatened to kill the driver boasting that nobody would query him if he killed the driver.
When the crowd urged the soldier to state the driver’s offence, Emmanuel B.J. slapped Olaniyi again for more than 12 times.
He said, “Who does he think he is? I will kill him and nobody will query me. I have killed many people who are older than this idiot (Olaniyi) in the past and nobody queried me for that.
“The idiot attempted to hit me while reversing his vehicle and when I asked him why, he just sneered at me. If at all he is older than me, I don’t care. I will do to him what he will never forget for the rest of his life.”
Emmanuel dragged Olaniyi to the park of commercial motorcycle operators, a distance of about 50 metres, before he released him after much pleading that lasted for about 45 minutes by eyewitnesses and other motorists.
Olaniyi was later advised to seek medical attention due to the extent of the assault.
Olaniyi, who could hardly open his mouth to talk because of his swollen lips after the soldier released him, denied that he sneered at the soldier.
He said he was reversing his vehicle when the soldier suddenly pounced on him.
One of the witnesses, who identified himself simply as Festus, said the beating was too much, adding that he did not expect that Olaniyi could still stand on his feet after the soldier released him.
Festus said it was the beating that drew his attention from where he was fixing some mechanical faults in his vehicle.
He said, “I did not know the cause of the disagreement between Olaniyi and the soldier, but from what I saw, Olaniyi was sitting in his vehicle when the soldier started beating him. I didn’t know whether Olaniyi sneered at the soldier or not.”
A bread seller at the motor park, who preferred to be addressed as Ajoke, said she witnessed the assault from the beginning to the end.
Ajoke said she joined other passersby to beg the soldier to let Olaniyi go when it appeared that he was not ready to stop the beating.
Reacting to the alleged assault, the spokesperson for 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Lagos, Col. Kingsley Samuel, told our correspondent that he had yet to confirm the identity of the soldier, but promised to investigate the assault.
He said, “We don’t know the identity of the soldier. Lagos is a big community; anybody can put on army uniform and impersonate being a soldier. We have had cases of impersonation before, but if any personnel of the organisation I work with commits a crime of that nature, the person will be dealt with.
“We have to find out if Emmanuel is a genuine soldier who is not impersonating. This is one of the things we will investigate. And if he is a soldier, we will find out the unit he belongs to. But I assure you that we will do our investigation.”