By Evelyn Usman
Two siblings, Aregbesola Warif, 16, and Aregbesola Quadris, narrowly escaped being lynched by two men suspected to be personnel of the Nigerian Army over allegation of phone theft, at Maryland area of Lagos.
The siblings, in the company of two other friends, were returning from the Ikeja Shopping Mall, where they went to hang out on January 1.
However, their joy was truncated as they were about to board a commercial bus heading towards Onipanu, when one of the passengers alleged that Quadri had stolen his phone.
In an interview with him, Quardi, who was still writhing in pains, managed to explain how he was almost killed.
He said: “Immediately I entered the bus, I discovered there was space for only one person and I alighted to join my brother and our friends. One of the passengers raised the alarm that I had stolen his phone and held me. When my brothers tried to intervene, they started beating them, accusing them of being members of my gang. Two of them went to call our parents, leaving my brother and I at the mercy of the crowd.
“Two soldiers came and, without asking what happened, they descended on us. They tied our hands and started beating us.
“Moments later, my mother called me on my phone to enquire what happened and one of the soldiers told her we stole. She told the soldiers that she was coming to where we were, that they should wait for her. But immediately after the call, they changed their mind on taking us to the barracks.
“They collected our phones, removed the SIM cards which they gave to us, before handing both phones to the man that accused us of stealing his phone and went their separate ways.”
Continuing, the Senior Secondary School 3 student said: “Three days after recovering from the beating, one of my brothers, who identified one of the soldiers, took my parents to his house but we did not meet him at home.
“My parents reported the matter at the Alade Police Station, where one of the soldiers who beat us was invited. He admitted before the Police to have collected my phones.
“The Police officer told him that what he did was jungle justice that he should have, at least, asked questions on what happened or brought us to the police station. As I speak, our phones have not been retrieved.“
When spokesman for the Lagos State Police Command, Chike Oti, was contacted, he confirmed that a distress call of an altercation was received on January, 1 by the Maryland Shopping mall.
However, he added that when policemen deployed to intercept the parties reached there, nobody was found.
He noted that the matter had not been reported at the Ikeja division, under which jurisdiction is Maryland. He was quick to add that investigation would be carried out into the matter.