On Monday, June 20, 2022, soldiers reportedly shot dead Yusuf Umar, 17, a gas station attendant at AYM Shafa gas station in Minna, Niger State. The gas station manager, Sa’ad Umar, and a brother of the deceased, Mohammed, talk to AISHA WAKASO on the tragic incident
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Sa’ad Umar. I am the manager of this gas station (AYM Shafa). I’m 29 years old.
What happened at your gas station on Monday, June 20, 2022 that resulted in the death of one of your attendants?
On Monday afternoon, I was in my office when a member of staff came to inform me that members of the air force had come to refuel their Hilux vehicle and as it was I who usually take care of them personally for accounting purposes, I went out to assist for them.
When I came out I saw men in mufti sitting there and a local manicurist was about to start cutting one of the people’s nails. I objected to this and asked that they move away from the pumps to avoid fires as manicurists usually use lighters to burn their tools, in order to sterilize them. But immediately, the man in mufti, who was trying to get his nails cut, asked me if I knew who they were and I replied that I didn’t care at that moment; I was only concerned about the safety guidelines at my workplace.
When the man insisted he had to get his nails cut at the gas station, I asked the manicurist to leave, but the men asked him to stay, so an argument started. 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 calling the air base accountant, Mr. Akuma, which is standard practice, as we have a money order with them, with an arrangement for them to pick up fuel and pay directly at the office. I called the accountant to also report that his men were violating our security standards, but he did not return the three calls I made to him.
While I was dialing the accountant’s number, one of the men in uniform got angry saying I was wasting his time. But I told him I had to get confirmation before giving them fuel. The next thing was one of them slapped me yelling, “Who are you to talk to my oga like that?”
Then another slapped and kicked me. I fell and they came down on me, beating me. I started screaming, asking why they were harassing me. The place has become rowdy. Amid the confusion, one of them rushed to the Hilux van and pulled out a knife, while another picked up a cutlass.
As people were trying to intervene, I was trying to run into my office when I heard two shots and saw Yusuf on the floor in a pool of his blood with a cut knife in his hand.
They (air force personnel) left immediately. We carried Yusuf and started rushing him to the hospital, but he died before we could get to the hospital.
Did you report the incident to airbase management?
Yes. They even visited us and said that the officers involved had already been arrested and detained. They said the officers didn’t have to shoot anyone. They said an investigation was underway and assured us that our brother’s blood would not be shed in vain.
What part of the body did the bullet hit the deceased?
He was hit in the arm and chest.