Ayobami, the brother of the late Peter Obafemi, a soldier who was allegedly killed by an operative of the Department of State Services in Ikate, Lekki, Lagos, tells ALEXANDER OKERE about the incident and how his life has been threatened for reporting it on social media
Please, introduce yourself.
My name is Ayobami. I am a businessman.
What is your relationship with a soldier, Peter Obafemi, allegedly shot dead by a DSS operative?
I am a relative of the slain soldier. He was my younger brother.
When did he join the Nigerian Army?
He joined the army as a regular recruit four years ago.
Where was he serving before the incident occurred?
Did he take part in the fight against insurgents in Borno?
He was actively involved. He did that for four years.
In what circumstances was he shot dead?
Peter was trying to be a good soldier and a responsible one. He had a vehicle he used for ‘side hustle’. He had a rider working for him. He told me his rider had not been remitting money for three days, so he went to look for the rider who lives in a slum in Ikate, Lekki, Lagos. I think the owner of the land invited some DSS operatives and some soldiers to eject the occupants out of the place. This happened last month.
He (Peter) did not tell me whether he met the rider or not; I am not an eyewitness but the story I heard from a credible source is what I am telling you. The DSS operatives were aggressive and they had no name tag. They moved close to him and tried to harass him and he told them he was a soldier. One of them slapped him and my brother slapped him back on reflex. My brother was not in his uniform; if he was, that would not have happened. But regardless, was he (DSS operative) supposed to slap anyone?
When my brother returned the slap, he put his hand in his pocket to bring out his ID card to show the DSS operative but the next thing he did was he shot my brother at a close range. So, the shooting was intentional; it was not an accidental discharge.
Where was he shot?
There is a medical report to prove that he was shot in the stomach. The bullet did not find its way out; instead, it shattered his pelvis. Yes, there is an x-ray to affirm that.
Did he receive help soon after he was shot?
Yes. He was taken to a private hospital. But later, he told them to take him to the military hospital in Yaba because he was a soldier; that was where I met him. I was returning from work when I received a call from my mother telling me to go and see my brother. This was someone I dined with that morning.
Was he still alive when you met him at the hospital?
Did he tell you anything about the incident?
I knew he needed his energy to survive, so I did not ask him questions. All he said was that he wanted to vomit and he vomited.
What kind of a person was he?
He was not a bad person or a violent person. If you come to my hometown and ask, everybody will describe him as a very humble person. He was an introvert. He took things the way they came. His smile was contagious. He would not smile at you and you would hate him. When soldiers enjoy free rides on commercial buses, my brother would pay for his ride, saying he did not buy the buses for the drivers.
How many times has it been recorded that a DSS operative killed a Boko Haram member? Our parents are shattered now; they don’t even know what to do. The only thing they can do is to weep. This boy (Peter) was due for a (new) rank this year. He was a private due for a new rank and the DSS cut his life short.
He fought gallantly. When I asked my brother what the situation was with the insurgency in Nigeria and he said if he had to lay down his life to end the insurgency in Nigeria, he was ready. I used to encourage him.
I am a big fan of Nigeria. My friends have been leaving Nigeria but I said I love my country and to make the country safe, I would contribute my own quota. I want a working society. I never believed this would happen to me – to have to bury my brother!
Was he married?
He was not married. Peter would have clocked 31 this year.
Did he plan to settle down soon?
He wanted to serve his country to a point that he would be able to enjoy marriage. He was serving in Maiduguri and soldiers dread the place. He was initially scared when he was posted to the state. I would not have been pained if my brother was killed by Boko Haram but he was shot by the DSS in Lagos.
Is your family taking any step to seek legal redress?
So far, nothing like that has happened. We were fighting for his life. The only thing we wanted then was for him to stay alive.
Did you make any formal complaint to the Nigerian Army, the Nigeria Police, and the DSS over the incident?
At the military hospital in Yaba, the army asked us some questions about what happened and told me they would send some signals. That was the only thing that looked official. The military has promised that it would get through to the DSS and do its investigation. We want justice. Everybody wants justice. If nothing can be done about it, then I will leave it to God.
You raised the alarm that your life was in danger following your social media posts about your brother’s death. Can you talk to me about it?
Since my brother died, I have received so many calls.
What did the callers tell you?
They said if I did not bring the posts down, I would be in trouble. They said if I did not discontinue that case, I would be in trouble. I do not know how they got my number.
How have you been coping?
I can’t even sleep at home. There is another witness who has been sleeping with one eye closed. I don’t know when to pick calls and when not to pick.
Note: The spokesperson for the DSS, Peter Afunanya, denied the allegation when Saturday PUNCH reached out to him on Friday.