A guest, David Chinonso, has been reportedly killed by soldiers who invaded the burial of one late Mathew Ekpu at Owode, Ogombo community, in the Ibeju-Lekki area of Lagos State.
The soldiers, numbering 15, were said to have arrived at the venue in an attempt to stop the corpse from being interred on the premises of the deceased.
This led to a confrontation, as one of the deceased’s sons, Victor, was hit in the head with an iron, while Chinonso was shot in the chest.
According to PUNCH, the children of the deceased, accused their sibling, Richard, of leading the attack, which happened on Saturday, November 19, 2022.
One of the children, Victoria Abimbola, said Richard was planning to acquire their father’s house and had demanded that the deceased be buried in their hometown in Akwa Ibom State.
She said, “My father gave birth to 10 children, and before he died, he told us that Richard, his second son, built a house for him in our village. We were happy when we first heard until Richard told him that the house he built was in exchange for my father’s house in Lagos.
“The rest of us disagreed with the decision and we told him that the house is the only property our father has in Lagos and it is more like a family house to every one of us. After that, he started putting pressure on our father, who later fell sick and died on September 5.
“After our father’s death, he (Richard) prevented us from burying him in the house. He also tried to stop us with policemen the day we took the corpse from the mortuary for burial, but we restricted him.”
Another family member, Victor, said he was attacked while trying to interrogate the soldiers who stormed the burial.
He said, “Some uniformed men came in the morning to stop us from burying our father, but since they did not provide any document that warranted their visit, we sent them away.
“So, we were holding a thanksgiving service in the church adjacent to our father’s house when the officials returned with five military men. They entered the premises and started to destroy property. When I stepped out of the church, I saw them assaulting the 15-year-old son of my brother, Daniel. By the time I asked what happened, one of them hit me with an iron rod on my head, while another hit me with a club from behind. I fell immediately. Some of the guests, who saw what happened, confronted them and while trying to chase them, one of the uniformed men fired a shot which hit David Chinonso, who died on his way to a hospital.”
Richard, however, denied the allegations, saying he acquired the property with the consent of his siblings.
He said, “Our father needed money to build a house in his hometown in Akwa Ibom and relocate there, so he told my brother, David, who is his first son, to buy the house so that the property would stay within the family, but he did not.
“Then in 2020, my father asked all of us to jointly acquire the house, but others complained about funds. When my brother Victor suggested an external buyer with the intention of getting a commission, my father declined and approached me to acquire the house. He also told them and they all agreed.
“So, I struggled to provide the fund, built the house, and got the documents. Since then, they started making financial demands on me and because I could not provide them, they conspired against me and my father.
“My father told me how they threatened to kill him, bury him and use his grave to claim the property. I told them if they did not want me to take possession of the house, they should return the money, but they did not. And since my father insisted on being buried in his hometown before he died, I reported the matter to the police.
“They were invited for questioning but they did not show up. While my elder brother moved into the house with his family, they also rushed to bury my father there. That was how the relevant authorities I reported the matter to moved against them and not me.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Benjamin Hundeyin, who confirmed the incident said, “We are aware and the case has been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department. The military officers were invited and they provided the information needed and their details. I will do a follow-up to confirm the update.”
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