In a flagrant show of impunity, the 83 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Yola, Adamawa State has bullied the police and covered-up the killing of a 42-year-old man by one of its senior officers.
But while the Adamawa State Police command has been forced to abandon the case, witnesses and relations have spoken up on how a senior military officer killed Anzuman Humphery on Sunday, May 6.
A witness who gave his name as Abba Yusuf (not his real name) said late Anzuman was killed along Barracks Road in Jimeta area of Yola capital city at about 9.30pm.
“We were at the Suya joint by Azuri Lounge Junction when we saw a white Toyota Hilux van approaching from the 83 Brigade Barracks towards Yola Bypass,” Mr. Yusuf said.
“Mr. Anzuman was trying to cross the road when the Hilux which was coming at neck-break speed hit him.
“The impact carried the man several meters into the air and landed him on the bonnet of the vehicle while the driver struggled to escape.
“As the driver swerved into the nearby street, the force flung the victim to the ground and the car could no longer move. It was at that point the driver opened the door and fled leaving the car behind,” the witness said.
One of the first responders who gave his name simply as Ibrahim, said attempts to revive the victim failed as he stopped breathing moments after he landed face down by the side of the road.
Mr. Ibrahim said the accident would have been avoided if the driver did not over-speed in an area constantly bursting with human and vehicular traffic.
With two major entertainment centres, Homtel Hotel and Azuri Lounge and a construction company, Triacta, located near the spot, he argued that it was impossible not to kill with the speed at which the military officer drove.
“As soon as the car stopped, the driver opened the door and fled into the darkness while many of us were trying to revive the victim. We found out the driver is a military man when we saw his beret in front of the vehicle,” Mr. Ibrahim said.
The witness said the vehicle that killed Mr. Anzuman bore Adamawa registration plate number: GAN 689AA.
Another witness, who pleaded not to be named for safety reasons, said some of the first responders alerted the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Karewa Police Division about the incident.
Located less than a kilometre from the scene of the accident, the source said the DPO rushed to the scene with a policeman.
But in a desperate attempt to cover up the killing, the Army immediately deployed heavily-armed personnel to the scene of the accident.
“Before the DPO arrived at the scene of the accident, the Army had dispatched two Hilux vans loaded with heavily-armed troops to convey the vehicle that caused the accident back to their barrack,” the source said.
“The soldiers were led by a senior officer who insisted that the police cannot tow a military vehicle to their station because it was against the rule of the Nigerian Army.
“He told the DPO that a civilian cannot intervene in a case involving the Nigerian Army and that the military has an internal mechanism to deal with cases involving its officers. He rebuffed every attempt by the DPO to take the Hilux that killed the man to the station, apparently to cover up the killer.”
Apparently, to forestall a clash between the two security agencies, the source said the DPO left when the senior military officer ordered his troops to tow the vehicle that killed the Yola resident to the barrack.
Police and Military Keep Mum on Killing
A few days after the incident, The NEXT EDITION reporter visited the Karewa Divisional Police Station to speak with the DPO, Mr. Ibrahim.
He was, however, directed to the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adamawa State chapter office along Bank Road, where the DPO was on an official assignment.
When our correspondent finally met with the DPO, he declined to speak on the matter and referred this newspaper to the state Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Othman Abubakar.
However, when Mr. Abubakar was initially contacted, he denied knowledge of the killing and the face-off between the DPO and the Army.
Mr, Abubakar instead directed this newspaper to the head of the Motor Traffic Division of the state Police Command, Shehu Didango.
When contacted, Mr. Didango insisted that he has not been authorised to speak on the matter.
“I cannot speak on the matter. I have not been authorised. You have to go back to the PPRO. He is in a better position to speak on issues concerning the command.
Again, we contacted the PPRO but he still denied knowledge of the case and blamed his ignorance on the fact that he was engaged in a recruitment exercise when the incident happened.
Not satisfied, our correspondent contacted the head of the Military Police in the 83 Brigade, Major Akinbile.
In a telephone conversation with our correspondent, Mr, Akinbile admitted the DPO of Karewa called to complain about the incident.
However, he said he could not speak on the matter because he was yet to be fully briefed on what happened.
The mockery of a settlement
While the military and the police would not speak on the issue, the family of the deceased, however, opened up on how the Nigerian Army mocked their brother was killed.
When our correspondent visited the home of the mother of the deceased at Shagari area of Yola town, his immediate junior brother, Namo said Anzuman was taken home and buried on Friday, May 11 in Demsa Local Government Area of the state.
Mr. Humphry who corroborated the accounts of witnesses interviewed by this newspaper confirmed that his elder brother was killed by a senior military officer from the 83 Brigade.
“My brother came to this compound on Sunday morning of May 6, and sat there (pointing to a concrete slap). Later he said he was going back. He wasn’t living here. He lived in the family house in Masakari area of Jimeta,” he began.
“But at about 10 pm that Sunday, one of my elder brothers, Emmanuel called me to come to Adamawa Specialist Hospital and I asked to know what the problem was but he wouldn’t say it.
“When I got to the hospital, I found him in the mortuary with the corpse of my brother, Anzuman. He told me he had an accident along Barracks Road.
“Those who witnessed the killing said he was trying to cross the road to buy Suya by Azuri Lounge Junction.
“We were also told that the officer that hit him came out from the Army Barracks and was on top speed. He didn’t even wait to take my brother to the hospital.
“Not long after the incident, the Army came to our family house and asked for forgiveness from my mother and my mother called us and our uncles and told us about it.
“We didn’t request anything from them but they brought some things and money to my mother.
Asked whether the soldier who committed the crime visited the family, he said “No. Witnesses said the person who killed my brother is a senior military officer.
“We were even shocked that during the burial, the Army brought one private soldier out and said he killed my brother. We felt they were mocking us by covering the real killer and bringing an innocent person to show to the public. But in spite of that, we won’t take up a case against them.”
Mr. Humphrey said no autopsy was carried out on the deceased and no formal report has been made on the incident because the Army would not allow the Police to carry out its statutory duty based on the law.
The reporter, Adam Kamla is a student of Communication and Multimedia Design of American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State. The NEXT EDITION encourages students to file their reports for publication.