Army dismisses soldiers for killing Yobe Islamic cleric

THE Nigerian Army has dismissed Lance Corporal John Gabriel for killing a Yobe State-based Islamic cleric, Sheik Goni Aisami.

Also found guilty by the Army was Lance Corporal Adamu Gideon, who reportedly aided Gabriel while he was attempting to steal the sheik’s car after killing him.

Both men served at the Army’s 241 Reece battalion until their dismissal in Nguru, Yobe State.

Multiple reports said the Acting Commander in charge of the battalion, Ibrahim Osabo, a colonel, told journalists on Saturday that a joint board of inquiry set up in collaboration with the police found the accused persons guilty.

They were reportedly demoted and de-kitted before their dismissal.

The police will prosecute them in civil court.

Prominent Nigerians and institutions, including President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan; the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), the Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), and the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) condemned the killing and demanded prompt justice.

Aisami’s killing

Gabriel killed Aisami when the latter was returning from Kano to his hometown, Gashua, in Yobe State on Friday, August 19, after he had given the soldier a lift at a checkpoint.

Gabriel reportedly told the cleric his rear tyre was making a noise, which prompted him to alight to check the purported fault. Gabriel promptly shot him dead.

The late cleric’s vehicle was a Honda Accord car with registration number KBT 31 AE. 

The police arrested Gabriel while he was attempting to steal the deceased’s car.

He was arrested with Gideon and a car electrician.

How Yobe Police Command and Army condemned killing

In a statement on Tuesday, August 23, the Yobe State Police Command confirmed the arrest of Gabriel and his accomplice for robbery and homicide.

“On August 19, 2022, detectives from Karasuwa Divisional Police Headquarters, in response to a distress call, apprehended N/A13/69/1522 Lance Corporal John Gabriel and N/A13/70/6552 Lance Corporal Adamu Gideon, both attached to 241 RECCE Battalion, Nguru. 

“One of the assailants (L/CPL John Gabriel), whose intention was to rob unsuspecting motorists of their vehicle, left the barrack on the date in mufti, having concealed his rifle in a camp bed for the military checkpoint at Nguru at about 2200hrs. 

“L/CPL John Gabriel requested the Islamic cleric to offer him a lift to Jaji Maji, which he obliged. That while driving and before reaching Jaji-Maji town, the assailant asked him to park, that there was an unusual noise at the rear tyre. 

“That when the cleric came down while checking the tyre, the suspect brought out his rifle, shot and killed him. He dragged the body and hid it in the bush.

“The police said the suspect took possession of the vehicle to take it away, but the car refused to start after several attempts.

“The suspect called Gideon from Army Batallion in Nguru and an auto-electrician from Jaji Maji, to assist in starting the car.

“Nemesis caught up with them when a passer-by going to his farm early in the morning sighted a corpse, a vehicle and some people.

“He then alerted the police from Jaji Maji, who promptly mobilized and raced down to the scene, leading to the suspects’ arrest, and recovery of the deceased’s body and the rifle used in the commission of the offence,” the police said. 

In addition, the police also recovered a Volkswagen Sharon bus found at the crime scene. 

The police said the suspects confessed to the crime. 

The Nigerian Army also responded to the crime by condemning it and vowing to punish the accused.

In a statement signed by the Assistant Director of Army Public Relations, Headquarters Section 2 Operation HADIN KAI (OPHK), Colonel Kennedy Anyanwu, the Army pledged to unmask the suspects.

The statement read, “The sector, in collaboration with the Yobe State Police Command, is carrying out an investigation to unravel the identity of the suspected soldiers.

 “Additionally, the sector has instituted a board of inquiry to unravel the circumstances surrounding the unfortunate incident. At the end of the investigation, the soldiers will be made to face the full wrath of both military and civil laws.

“This incident is highly regrettable given the sector’s disposition and zero tolerance for violating code of conduct and rules of engagement for troops.

 “Consequently, the sector wishes to commiserate with the family of the victim and the good people of Yobe State, and promise that justice would be served accordingly.”

The ICIR exclusively reported how the deceased’ family demanded justice



    In an interview with The ICIR, Aisami’s younger brother, Haruna Abdullahi, said the family wanted nothing but justice to take its course.

    According to Abdullahi, the late cleric had two wives and 15 children, out of which three had died.

    Abdullahi said the deceased was a Special Assistant to the Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, on Religious Matters.

    Both the Senate President and the deceased hailed from Gashua.

    Marcus bears the light, and he beams it everywhere. He's a good governance and decent society advocate. He's The ICIR Reporter of the Year 2022 and has been the organisation's News Editor since September 2022. Contact him via email @ [email protected].

    Join the ICIR WhatsApp channel for in-depth reports on the economy, politics and governance, and investigative reports.

    Support the ICIR

    We invite you to support us to continue the work we do.

    Your support will strengthen journalism in Nigeria and help sustain our democracy.

    If you or someone you know has a lead, tip or personal experience about this report, our WhatsApp line is open and confidential for a conversation


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    Support the ICIR

    We need your support to produce excellent journalism at all times.

    - Advertisement


    - Advertisement