A middle-aged man, Opeyemi Olaleye, is not sure yet if he will be able to see again with his left eye as health workers are currently battling to ensure that the affected eye does not go blind.
There was nothing wrong with any of his eyes until last Wednesday when he had an encounter with some naval ratings attached to the Nigerian Navy School of Music, Ota, Ogun State.
On the day of the incident, Olaleye, a football lover, joined others to watch a football match at a viewing centre located in the Akeja community, Ota Area of the state unaware of the fact that danger was lurking around.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the victim, on arrival at the centre with his friend around 9.30pm, parked his car at a space where he felt it was safe and was not blocking other cars.
Shortly after settling down to watch the football match, he heard a man shouting at the top of his voice from the parking space in front of the viewing centre.
The aggrieved man was protesting the fact that a driver had blocked his motorcycle with his car.
Out of curiosity, Olaleye reluctantly abandoned the match he was watching and decided to check to be sure that he was not the offender.
By the time he got to the parking space, he realised that it was his car the aggrieved man was complaining about.
He was surprised by the fact that the man was cursing and insulting the owner of the car.
He told PUNCH Metro that he was not comfortable with the curses the man was raining on him fand he he decided to talk to the angry man .
He said, “I was hearing someone cursing and insulting a car owner while demanding that the driver should come and move his car. I stood up from where I sat immediately. On getting there, I saw the guy still insulting the owner of the vehicle. I advised him that he should stop insulting and cursing the owner of the car.
“I advised him that rather than insulting and cursing, he should have informed the owner of the viewing centre who will then announce to his customers so that the owner would come and move his car.
“I did not even know that he is a naval rating because he was not wearing a uniform. There was even enough space for him to move his motorcycle but he insisted that I must move my car.
“When an argument ensued, I walked away. When he saw me walking away, he attacked me from behind. I tried to free myself but could not.”
Olaleye said he later apologised to the naval rating but he rejected his pleas.
While the confusion lasted, he said the naval rating made a call to someone he suspected was his colleague and shortly after the call, no fewer than 20 naval ratings arrived at the scene and descended on him in solidarity with their colleague.
He added, “He started making calls. Some guys told me to run that he is a naval rating while others suggested that I should apologise to him. So, I started begging him, but he insisted that he will let me know who he was. Not long after, I saw some naval ratings on motorcycles.
“They started beating me at the viewing centre and later took me to their barracks which is not too far from the viewing centre. They were more than 20 ratings beating me with all sorts of weapons till I passed out. They poured water on me and ordered me to enter a drainage inside their barracks.
“When I was shouting, they took me close to a generating set so that people won’t hear my cry. It was when they noticed that I was losing consciousness that they pushed me out of their gate. It was the owner of the viewing centre and one other guy that came to pick me up from their gate.”
By the time Olaleye was rescued, blood was already gushing out of his left eye and there were bruises all over his body.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Oyeyemi Abimbola, confirmed the incident.
Oyeyemi said Olaleye reported the case at the Sango Police Division where he was advised to get medical attention first and return to pursue the case.
“The guy called me and I asked him to report at the Sango Police Station. The DPO at Sango Police Station told him to get treatment first. By Tuesday, he will return so that they will follow him to that place to find out what happened.
“He had an issue with the naval people. This is not a police problem. But the case has been reported and we told him to go and treat himself first,” the PPRO said.
Also, the spokesperson for the Nigerian Navy, Adedotun Ayo-Vaughan, confirmed the incident to PUNCH Metro, adding that all those involved had been arrested and detained.
He said, “Indeed there was an incident of assault by some Naval personnel. An investigation is ongoing. The Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Navy School of Music has confirmed the incident and he is on top of the situation. He has also spoken to the victim and his sister who has been tweeting.
“He has a meeting with them that is scheduled for today, May 1 by 1pm at their chosen location. The culprit who had issues with the victim and his cohorts have been detained for disciplinary action as the investigation continues to get others found culpable.
“The Nigerian Navy has zero tolerance for molestation or harassment of civilians as naval personnel have repeatedly been cautioned never to take laws into their hands when they have issues with civilians. Accordingly, this was an isolated case and the culprits will be punished.”
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