The Forward Operational Base of the Nigerian Navy and the Efotan family have disagreed over the circumstances that led to the alleged killing of their son, Omosebine Efotan, by some officers of the Base in the riverine community of Abe-Oroyo, Ilaje Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Punch reported that the 26-year-old Omosebine, an outboard engine mechanic, was allegedly killed by some officers of Orioke-Iwamimo Command Unit of the Nigerian Navy on August 2, 2016 when the latter were in the town to settle disagreement between two members of the community over issue of debt of N20,000.
Speaking on the matter on Monday, August 29, the Commanding Officer of FOB of the Navy, Igbokoda, Capt. Nyako Lamiri, said the deceased was a leader of some militant youths in the area who attacked the naval officers that went to settle a disagreement between two members of the community at the palace of the traditional ruler of the town.
Lamiri said on the fateful day, one Kehinde Egbayelo, a resident of Abe-Oroyo community, reported a case of threat to his life at the naval outpost at Ori-Oke Iwamimo, following which three naval officers who were on routine patrol were sent to investigate the matter.
He said, “As soon as the naval officers arrived at the coastal community, the traditional ruler waded into the matter and it was amicably settled.
“However, when the officers were returning to base, a group of youths armed with charms and weapons attacked them. One of the officers was pushed into the big river in the community. Fortunately, he swam to safety.
“One Omosebine Efotan (the deceased), who was later identified as the kingpin of the group, later attacked one of the officers by punching him in the face, while the third one was also attacked.
“They attempted to disarm them, and this made one of the officers to shoot into the air, apparently to prevent further attack by the group.
“Efotan was struggling to collect the gun of one of the officers, and it was in the process that he was shot dead.”
Lamiri lamented that the incident was unfortunate, as the officers and men of the Navy have hitherto had cordial relationship with their host communities.
In their reaction, the Efotan family insisted that the deceased was murdered in cold blood by the naval officers, alleging that the officers were fond of perpetrating illegal activities in the riverine communities.
The deceased’s family spokesman, Mr. Adeolu Efotan, who spoke with our correspondent on Monday, described the deceased as a gentleman and not notorious as described; saying he was killed by the naval officers when he refused to remove the outboard engine for the officers.
He narrated, “The boy was in his workshop when the naval officers approached him to remove an outboard engine belonging to one of the persons that were fighting over the issue of debt.
“The matter that they came to the community for had been settled, but they still wanted to take the engine away so that the owner would come and bail it from them.
“They asked him to remove the engine from the boat and he refused. It was during the argument that one of the officers brought out the gun and shot him in the chest. The navy has not told the truth about the matter. They want to cover it up, but we would not allow them. That is not the first time they would be terrorising the community.”
The traditional ruler of Abe-Oroyo community, Chief Adolphus Efotan, also confirmed that the deceased was a leader of one of the youths in the community, saying he was shot dead while attempting to disarm one of the naval officers.
He said he intervened in the matter of debt between two members of the community, in which the naval officers were also involved; stressing that the matter was amicably settled.
The traditional ruler further narrated that some youths, including the deceased and his group, allegedly attacked the officers on their way back to their outpost.
“All what we want in the community is peace. The naval officers are our friends, they are the ones that have been protecting us. We have made several unsuccessful efforts to request for a police post in the community. If not for the naval outpost that is very close to us, we would have been without any security,” he stated.