- communities alleges bullet from Army’s shooting range
- Army denies
An alleged stray bullet from an ongoing Nigerian Army range classification hit a 4-year-old boy identified as Abdul Lateef Adeyemi, on Wednesday jolting the several communities around 2 Division, Nigeria Army in Ibadan, Oyo state.
The over 400,000 residents in about 20 communities living close to Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment, Odogbo, Ibadan, are said to have started fleeing their residences in droves following a stray bullet that hit a pupil of a private school in Ajobo Omilabu area on Wednesday.
The victim, who attends Oluyemisi Nursery and Primary School, was said to have been hit within his school premises by stray bullet fired by soldiers from a shooting range.
Immediately, the Nigerian Army Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, 2 Division Nigerian Army, Colonel Ezindu Idima, denied the bullet coming from the army range exercise even though he pointed out that the General Officer Commanding (GOC) had ordered investigation into the issue to ascertain where the bullet that hit the boy came from.
He explained: “Before we started range classification, we sent out a press release and also went to the communities living around the barracks to inform them to stay away certain areas even though we knew bullets cannot flies to such places.
“The nearest community to the barracks is about 2.3 kilometres and the effective range of AK-47, which we used for the range classification is about 300 metres.
“We went to the communities again this morning to see what happened. We are investigating to know what actually transpired.”
However, the Chairman of Ajobo Omilabu Landlords’ Association, Alfa Kazeem Ijeru, said that it was the bullet from the ongoing shooting at the range at Odogbo Barracks that hit the boy, who he said is currently in a serious condition at a military hospital.
Alfa Adeyemi said, “About seven years ago, we bought plots of land. It was when we got to the area that we started hearing gunshots. We were scared and went to the land owners to complain, but we were told that there was no cause for alarm and that it was from the barracks.”
“Soldiers beat us. They added then that the bullets being used were rubber bullets that could not kill. But later, we discovered that this was not so. The first set of people who went to the barracks to complain were beaten up.
“Yet, we still went there to complain. The Army told us that they will not use the place as shooting range again and that they will move to Alamala in Abeokuta. The shooting stopped for some time then,” he explained.
“On Wednesday morning, we were getting ready around 11a.m. to make the appointment with the GOC by 12 noon, when someone told me that a pupil of Oluyemisi Nursery and Primary School has been hit in the head and was bleeding profusely.
“We rushed there to see the GOC, but the soldiers at the gate did not allow any of us to enter except the mother of the affected child. The bullets we picked to show them as proof were collected from us.
“Already, many of us will not sleep in that community tonight because the shooting still continues at the range. Do you know that people could not rescue the boy immediately because as they wanted to pick him, there were bullets still flying around,” he said.