Police operatives in Lagos State have arrested two fake soldiers, Kehinde Elijah, 45, and Eze Joseph, in connection with the killing of a police sergeant, Onalaja Onajide. Onajide, who was attached to Ilemba Hausa Division, Ajangbadi, was gunned down at about 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 10, in front of the division by bullets said to be from an unknown source.
It was gathered that the suspects were apprehended on Saturday evening and yesterday morning by a team led by Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Yahaya Adesina, a Chief Superintendent (CSP), who witnessed the incident alongside another cop that night.
It was gathered that Elijah, a dismissed soldier sacked for allegedly deserting the battle against insurgents in the northeast, paid frequent visits to the police station pretending to be a serving soldier.
According to a police source, on that fateful day at about 9:00 p.m., the newly posted DPO of the station was hearing some noise in front of the station and came down from his office to know what was wrong, but when he came down, none of the four-station guards was on duty.
“The DPO called on one of the station officers who joined him outside the gate and was trying to find out why four-station guards were not on duty. The officer said while they were trying to find out why there was nobody on guard, Seargent Onajide appeared from the dark, holding some car keys in one hand and his rifle in another. As the DPO was trying to inquire why he left his duty post, a gunman fired a shot from the opposite direction and Onajide fell down while some pellets shattered the DPO’s phones.”
The officer said before the DPO and the station officer could come to terms with what transpired, the gunman had taken off. The DPO, who was just posted from Alagbado to the area and his subordinate rushed Onajide to a nearby hospital where he was confirmed dead by the doctor on duty.
The senior police officer who spoke on the condition of anonymity said: “The DPO, CSP Yahaya, ordered that we should turn the area upside down to fish out the killers of our colleague. We have been able to get five persons, including two fake soldiers.”
The suspect, a resident of No. 16, Ibiyeye Street, Whitehouse bus stop, Okokomaiko, police sources said, fell into the radar because his motorcycle was impounded that day and later in the night, a Lexus Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV) carrying men dressed in military uniforms was spotted around the division shortly before the firing occurred.
It was gathered that Elijah had visited the division several times in full military attire but was eventually arrested on Saturday evening when he was taken before the DPO who figured he was an impersonator. He was said to have confessed during interrogation that he deserted the army with his firearm and other military accoutrements, including three military uniforms.
Similarly, in the course of the investigation, Joseph, a resident of Imude Pako in Era Road, Ajangbadi, was trailed to his residence where three other impersonators allegedly fled and the police arrested him, recovered three other army uniforms.
Lagos State police spokesman, Bala Elkana, said that detectives were currently trailing six fake soldiers, three each connected to each of the suspects to establish their roles in the cop’s murder or any other crime they have been involved in.
Although initial information alleged that the DPO was responsible for the death, checks at the weekend revealed the bullet was fired more than 100 metres away whereas the deceased, the DPO and the Station Officer (SO) were standing together.
Police spokesman, Bala Elkana, said the deceased sergeant was shot by some hoodlums, confirming that some suspects were already in custody. “We have suspects in our custody with respect to that case and we are trailing others. An investigation is ongoing,” he said Elkana.