After days of a viral battle between residents and military men over lockdown enforcement, the identity of the army personnel, who killed a young man named Joseph Pessu in Delta State while enforcing a stay-at-home order by the state government, has been unveiled, SaharaReporters can report.
Pessu was shot dead by the army personnel around 10:30am on Thursday at Ada Val Arenyenka Street, Ugbuwangue, Warri, Delta State, while trying to purchase medicine for his pregnant wife.
His killing sparked a protest in the community with his enraged friends and kinsmen blocking major roads to express their anger.
Speaking in confidence with SaharaReporters, a senior police officer in the state gave the name of the killer army personnel as Sergeant Ilekura Samson Ajayi of the Nigerian Army 4 Brigade Benin, Edo State, with force number 02NA/52/3134.
According to him, police preliminary investigation showed that Ajayi is attached to Operation Delta Save, 3 Battalion, Nigerian Army, Effurun Barracks, Warri.
Operation Delta Save was launched by the Nigerian military to protect oil installations as well as prevent oil bunkering activities in the Niger Delta region.
“Ajayi was deployed to a company called ‘B Coy’ where they are providing security before the ugly incident occurred at the checkpoint where he and others were deployed to on that fateful day.
“I can conveniently tell you that Ajayi is no longer in our facility at the area command, Warri.
“He has since been released from detention and if in doubt challenge the police authority to show him to the press. He has been released to the unit of the Operation Delta Save which he is attached to.
“But his release from our detention to the unit of the Operation Delta Save does not make him a free man or left off the hook of the murder because he will be made to face a disciplinary action. He will be court martialled by the army authority,” the source said.
Investigation by our correspondent however, revealed that Ajayi hails from Imeri in Ondo State.
When contacted to know if the suspect had actually been released from police detention in Warri, the Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, said she had no idea about that.
She said, “Well, for now I don’t have any more information than his detention. I don’t know about his being released.”