David Adewuyi groaned with pain and fear at a security post at Gloryland Estate in Arepo Ogun States he narrates his story, His body ached as a result of bruises allegedly inflicted upon him three days earlier by some soldiers stationed in the community.
Adewuyi, a security guard at Gloryland Estate, said the offence that resulted in his beating was preventing a Hausa scavenger from entering the estate.
In the past, Adewuyi said scavengers were allowed into the estate, but they were banned from doing so about two years ago due to incessant cases of burglary allegedly traced to them.
On Monday, December 14, 2020, when a scavenger pushing a wheelbarrow, holding a toggle and carrying a bag tried to enter the estate, Adewuyi said he and his colleague stopped the scavenger.
Little did they know that their action would pit them against some soldiers stationed in the community to guard against oil pipeline vandalism.
“So as the scavenger was about to enter the estate, my colleague told him he couldn’t enter. I was inside the security post. Despite the fact that my colleague asked the scavenger not to enter, he was defiant and entered the estate. I was about to have my bath, but when I saw what was happening, I wore my clothes again and stepped outside to tell the scavenger to leave at once.
“The scavenger claimed that a resident of the estate asked him to come. I was surprised, so I told him to call the resident for confirmation. But the porter said he had no phone with him. I was baffled because he was the one who just told us that he was called by a resident to come.
Since he could not call the resident who asked him to come, I told him to return to wherever he was coming from. But he was defiant.
“One thing I noticed was that he had inhaled some substance, so I concluded that maybe because he was high on drugs, he didn’t know what he was doing.
As he insisted on entering the estate, I used my hand to guide him out of the gate. But as I was doing so, he pushed me forcefully.
That was how we were engaged in a fight, and I beat him that he had to lie on the ground. Before I knew what was happening, about 15 motorcyclists of northern extraction had stormed the estate’s gate. I asked them to leave, that I had no business with them. I later lifted up the scavenger from the ground and put him on one of the motorcycles, and they left.”
However, about 30 minutes later, Adewuyi said the scavenger and some motorcyclists returned to the estate’s gate with a soldier.
He said, “I had gone out on patrol, so they met only my colleague at the security post. However, because I forgot an item at the security post, I returned there. As I was about getting there, I heard the soldier asking my colleague where I was. I thought I didn’t do any wrongdoing my job, so I was not afraid to approach him.
“After identifying myself, the soldier asked me to board one of the motorcycles. I told him I could not obey the directive without informing my employers.
I told him to follow me to meet with my employers. The motorcyclists started speaking Hausa with the soldier. Luckily, there was a couple who understood Hausa and were inside a church near the scene of the incident.
One of my colleagues went to call them, and they conversed in Hausa with the soldier and the motorcyclists. But the soldier was not receptive to them.”
Adewuyi said not long after, the soldier picked up a big stick from the ground and wanted to hit his head. But he (Adewuyi) quickly took to his heels and ran inside the estate.
The security guard said the soldier kept chasing him inside the estate, and at that point, the motorcyclists who came with him wanted to invade the estate, so his (Adewuyi’s) colleagues quickly locked the estate’s gate.
According to Adewuyi, the motorcyclists left, only for them to return later with a group of soldiers.
He said, “I learnt that the motorcyclists told a lie to the soldiers that we were beating a soldier inside the estate. However, those soldiers asked what really happened, and after meeting with some of the executives of the estate residents’ association, the matter was settled and they left.”
However, around 9 pm that same day, Adewuyi said he was manning a security post when he saw three soldiers wielding AK-47s walking towards him. He said two other soldiers sat in a truck parked some metres away from the estate.
He said, “They had arrested my colleague who we were together in the morning and he was in the truck with them. They had beaten him. When the soldiers got to me, they asked me if I was the one who beat a scavenger earlier in the day.
I told them that the case had already been settled. But they were angry that I made the comment.
“They ordered me to follow them and board their truck. I told them I would have to inform the executives of the estate residents’ association before leaving with them. They said it was not necessary for me to do so.
I told them that if the estate security was breached because I was away, they would be held responsible. I told them this because, from my experience, thieves usually rob homes in the estate when no security guard is around. They told me to shut up and forced me to board their vehicle.
“I carried my torch, and a loaf of bread and soft drink that I was eating as I boarded their truck. They said I didn’t need to eat anything because I would ‘eat better food’ where they were taking me to.
I understood what they meant, but I thought, ‘Well, I’m not a criminal, so I’m not going to start crying.’ As we were going, the scavenger, who was also in the truck, said he was hungry, and the soldiers gave him my bread. The scavenger also accused me of stealing N5,000 from him.”
Thereafter, Adewuyi said he and his colleague were taken to the army base at Arepo, where they were allegedly battered by the soldiers.
He said, “They turned our faces upside down, our legs raised up, and started whipping us with clubs and hitting us with their boots. When all these were happening, the soldiers asked the scavenger to sleep on the floor. They even gave him a carton to sleep on.”
As the battering was going on around 11 pm, Adewuyi said some executives of Arepo residents’ association arrived, and after some minutes of a heated argument between the officials and the soldiers, the security guards were released.
Due to the injuries inflicted upon him and his colleague, Adewuyi said they were taken to the hospital from the army base for treatment.
Days after the incident, the security guard said he was still in severe pains.
“I have been having headaches and back pains,” he said.
Also speaking with a journalist, Adewuyi’s colleague, Olaniyi Adeyemo, who was also allegedly battered by the soldiers, said his body still ached.
“My legs are swollen, and I am still taking medications,” he said.
Adeyemo, who showed our correspondent a phone whose screen was broken, alleged that it was destroyed by the soldiers when they smashed the device on the ground.
“Up till now, I still ask myself why the soldiers were involved in a matter that was not in their jurisdiction. I was simply doing my work,” he added.
A witness to the incident and security guard, Oladapo Oladejo, said he was surprised that the soldiers beat his colleagues for doing their job.
“I was at the scene when the soldiers returned to arrest my colleagues in the night. It was clear that the soldiers backed the scavenger – well, maybe because most of the soldiers were of the same northern extraction as him,” he said.
Another security guard, Adewumi Olorunwa, said it was not the first time that soldiers would beat security guards in the community at their duty post.