What happened on February 26?
On the fateful day, we had an incident in the car park of the lounge which degenerated into an argument because one of the guys insisted that he earlier parked on a spot before and the new occupants should move out and let him park; it led to a scuffle, I was seated inside the bar when the scuffle started, we saw some ruckus so we went towards the car park to find out what was going on, the Operation Burst patrol team was parked at the other side of the car park and had a complete view of the whole car park and had apparently seen what was going on, so we all moved towards the direction simultaneously but because I was closer, I got there just before them. I asked what was going on and why the guys there were not taking charge but they said they were proving stubborn, since the security guys were there, I immediately left the scene because I was sure they could handle it because in addition to the Operation Burst patrol, we had members of the OPC and my own security team, about 10 men including officers of the civil defence and soldiers.
I felt I had a good security and I left but not long after I sat down, I noticed Kehinde Adeleke who was our good customer in the last one year, walking fast and I asked him what was wrong, he said those are my younger brothers outside and I told him to tell them to take it easy as they were constituting a nuisance but he was preoccupied and kept on walking fast towards the car park. It was like three or four minutes after this that we started hearing gunshots in the car park, at least I heard about three gunshots at that instance and my attention was drawn to the car park. So we went there and I noticed that there was a boy that had been standing with Damola, the younger brother earlier on harassing the other soldier, he was standing right behind the soldier, holding his gun and there was another guy on the soldier’s side, he was also trying to struggle with the gun. I don’t know what happened before then but as I walked towards them, I called on them to stop, then gunshots started going on again in all directions as they continued to struggle with the soldier, so we ran back towards the bar, we couldn’t wait, series of shots after those ones, all in all, there were about 10-15 shots, we waited inside the bar waiting for the security men to walk in before we came out when suddenly some boys including Damola rushed into the bar and were shouting, they have killed my brother. Immediately, we all ran out of the bar into the bush but before this, I had called the DPO of Sango police station that we had issues of some boys fighting the soldiers, by the time I ran into the field, I found my phone was ringing and had rang twice without me knowing, it was the DCO of Sango Police station and he told me they were on the way, we were still hiding and when things went quiet, we moved out and one of my staff told me that Mr Bukky (his neighbour) had been attacked by the boys and they had taken him in the car and were leaving with him, so I had to stay back and arrange for his rescue because there was heavy traffic with many cars moving out at once but fortunately, we met another set of Operation Burst before they got to the road, so they abandoned the car and that was how he escaped. Not long after, the DCO Sango came and he asked if anyone passed away and I said I didn’t see anything. It was during this time that we saw Mr Bukky who confirmed that there was a corpse with him in the car and we made arrangements for him to be taken to the hospital. After this, the commander of Operation Burst in Oyo state came in, he introduced himself as Captain Alkali, he said I should enter his car and go to UI, so I entered and was explaining to him but on the way, he made a call and thereafter told the driver to drive towards UCH. When we got there, I found out a soldier was injured in the fracas and had been referred from Jaja clinic in UI to UCH but as we walked towards the emergency room at UCH, a black Lexus jeep sped in and all the doors opened at the same time, everybody scattered and were screaming they have come again, I later realised it was the same set of guys and they had come to UCH earlier to cause trouble. It was during this time that I missed the Operation Burst vehicle. So I had to call someone to come and pick me from UCH.
I was surprised when I got to the police station the next day because I told my manager to make a formal report that night, it was a big surprise when the DPO said they said I carried my personal gun and shot them and later they said I took a gun from the soldier and shot them. I told the DPO that it was gunshots that attracted me to the car park; I wasn’t there when it happened. And I was told to get a good lawyer because they were accusing me. Before I left there, a team from the state CID led by the DCP had a meeting in the DPO’s office, I was there and they asked questions, we went to the scene of the event and they said we should go to Iyaganku, by the time I got there, we met about 15 boys and that was when the shock came in when one of them started shouting that I was the one that killed his brother and that his brother died in his hands. He was not even on the premises on that day until after the incident. It was shocking that the guy and others that were not there claimed to be eyewitnesses. I wasn’t disturbed because I didn’t shoot anybody, I don’t know how to shoot and I have no gun. Fortunately, it wasn’t an unknown soldier, it was a team that could be identified. We told the police the identity of the security on duty that night for them to investigate, I don’t know if they did but the IPO told me they wrote a letter and the military authorities said the man was hospitalised. It took a while before the soldiers came to write a statement. I was in detention and there was a lot of hate propaganda against me and my business and in all of this, I didn’t have a chance to say my side or defend myself because I wasn’t given access to any platform.
What about the closure of the bar by government on diverse allegations and an existing quit notice?
It is a calculated attempt to usurp and take my business; I have been warned many times that a former tenant at this location had been trying all he can to get the bar back, I have been operating here for six years and the bar had been closed for about 11 months before I took over. When I came to this place, it was an eyesore, the whole place was in terrible condition, I was informed the place was once used as a stripper’s bar and a drug hub, it took a long time to even clear that off. The name of my bar is Pete’s Bar but for about two years, it was called Bush bar because of the way it was before I took over. I invested a lot of time and money to bring it to this enviable level of a standard bar in Ibadan and ensure sanity, I never realised a former tenant could be this desperate to use half truths and lies to malign my business. This is a copy of the offer for a five-year lease that is just a week before the incident; the information peddled is a lot of half truths and blatant lies. An old tenant had tried everything to get me out of here. When they gave me a quit notice based on item 7 of the initial agreement that said the landlord deserves the right to terminate anytime not on any allegations but that agreement even ceased to exist after the first year because we had a new agreement with nothing drawn up but moving on from that, we met with them and they gave another agreement which I refused because I wanted a five- year agreement. So after series of negotiations, they gave me another lease of five years at N1.2m yearly. So there was no existing quit notice, that is half truths and lies to malign my character, damage my business and take over the business location
In all these, what are your thoughts?
In all this, I still want to say that it is a pity that the family lost a son, it is sad that I lost a customer and a friend and I pray Allah forgive his sins and he rests in peace. Also, on behalf of the management and staff of Pete’s Bar, I will like to extend our condolences to his extended and nuclear family. There has been a series of false allegations against my personality, I leave all to God. I am not the kind of person they have painted me to be to the whole world but it is clear what happened.
What of allegations of drug use and cultists visiting your bar?
It is still part of the lies, I cannot say cultists may not come here because I have a lot of schools around me and they do not write it on their forehead. This is a place where we have Operation Burst and policemen, we have members of all security teams, about 15 of them just to ensure nothing untowards happens. You can’t have a successful business like this if it is not peaceful. When we started we had issues with drug users because that was what we inherited but we spent so much to send them away, we brought in NDLEA officials to make arrests and there was sanity because we don’t want anyone to destroy our brand. Based on petitions, NDLEA had been here to investigate and we were given a clean bill of health.