Sa’ad Umar, the manager of AYM Shafa fuel station, Minna, Niger State, has revealed how officers of the Nigerian Air force killed 17-year-old Yusuf Umar, an attendant at the fuel station.
“On Monday afternoon, I was in my office when a staff member came to inform me that some air force personnel had come to refill their Hilux vehicle,” Umar was quoted to have said. “Since I am the one who usually attends to them personally for accounting purposes, I came out to attend to them.”
Umar said he saw some men sitting down within the filling station with a local manicurist about to start cutting their nails.
“I objected to that and requested that they move away from the pumps to avoid a fire outbreak. Manicurists usually use lighters to burn their tools as a way of sterilising them,” he said.
“But immediately, the man in mufti, who was trying to get his nails cut, asked me if I knew who they were. I said I didn’t care to know at that point; I was only concerned about the safety guidelines of my workplace.”
Despite the fact that Umar mentioned the risk of a local manicurist working close to the pumps, the man insisted that he must have his nails cut in the filling station. Umar said that he told the manicurist to leave the filling station instead, but the men ordered him to stay.
“One of their colleagues in uniform called me. I asked him if the men in mufti were with them and he said they were together. I started to call the air force base accountant, Mr Akuma. We have a retainership with them, with an arrangement for them to come to collect fuel and pay directly from the office,” said Umar.
“I called the accountant to also report that his men were going against our safety standards, but he didn’t pick the three calls I placed to him.”
According to Umar, one of the men in uniform got angry and complained that he was wasting their time. Umar explained that he needed to get confirmation from their office before giving them fuel.
“The next thing was that one of them slapped me, shouting, ‘Who are you to be talking to my oga like that?’ Then another one slapped and kicked me. I fell and they descended on me, beating me,” Umar explained.
“I started shouting, demanding why they were harassing me. The place became rowdy. Amid the confusion, one of them rushed to the Hilux van and brought out a knife, while another one got a cutlass.”
Umar said he heard two gunshots as he tried to run into his office for protection. “I saw Yusuf on the ground in a pool of his blood with a cutlass cut in his hand. He was hit on his arm and his chest,” Umar said.
The air force personnel drove off afterwards, and Yusuf died while Umar and others tried to get him to the hospital.
Umar said that AYM Shafa filling station reported the incident to the leadership of the air force officers’ base.
“They have even visited us and they said the officers involved were already arrested and detained,” Umar said. “They said the officers had no business shooting at anyone. They said investigation was going on and assured us that the blood of our brother would not be shed in vain.”
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