THE FAMILY of Sheik Goni Aisami, a prominent Islamic cleric who was killed by a soldier while travelling from Kano to his hometown Gashua, Yobe State, last Friday, has called for justice.
In an interview with The ICIR, the deceased younger brother, Haruna Abdullahi, said the family is demanding justice.
Aisami was reportedly killed by John Gabriel, a soldier he gave a lift at a checkpoint.
Gabriel, a Lance Corporal, has the Nigerian Army number N/A13/69/1522.
He was arrested with two other accomplices by the police the day he allegedly committed the crime while attempting to claim the deceased’s car.
One of his accomplices, Adamu Gideon, is also a Lance Corporal with Nigerian Army number N/A13/70/6552.
The two soldiers are attached to 241 RECCE Battalion, Nguru, near Gashua, Yobe State.
The cleric was driving in his Honda Accord Car with Registration Number KBT 31 AE.
According to his brother, 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.
The Senate President and the deceased are both from Gashua.
“We got a call from somebody in Jaji Maji police station. They informed us that somebody had an accident. We got there, and they told us that our brother had been killed the previous day on his way back home.
“The police at the station said they caught two soldiers in connection with the crime. They told us that the soldiers killed him so they could steal his car.
“On Saturday, we came to pick up his corpse. He is an Islamic Scholar of repute and a gentleman. We buried him on Saturday, but the family has spoken with one voice that we want justice. What we are calling for is justice. What we need is justice.”
Meanwhile, the Yobe State Police Command confirmed the arrest of the soldier and his accomplice in a statement.
“On 19th August 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 his accomplice L/CPL Adamu Gideon from 241 RECCE Battalion Nguru and an auto-electrician from Jaji Maji to assist in starting the car.
Nemesis caught up with them when a passerby 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 mobilised and raced down to the scene, leading to the suspects’ arrest, 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 had confessed to the crime. While the investigation is still ongoing, the suspects are in police custody.
The police will charge them to court after the investigation.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has responded to the crime.
In a statement, the Army condemned the action and vowed to deploy military and civil laws to punish the culprits.
In the 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 sector, in collaboration with 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.”