Panic gripped students and civilian employees of the Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Onikolobo, Abeokuta, on Wednesday when six Naval operatives descended on a teacher in the school and beat him to a pulp over a minor disagreement.
The victim, Rashid Ibrahim, who has been teaching Food and Nutrition in the school in the past 13 years, was said to have almost lost his life during the assault.
Ibrahim, who reportedly fainted from the beating, was said to have been rescued by the Commandant of the School, Captain M. A. Olatunji.
The victim, after allegedly sustaining serious injuries in the attack, was first rushed to the school’s sickbay before the commandant ordered that he should be taken to the Federal Medical Centre, Idi-Aba, Abeokuta, for better treatment.
An eyewitness, who is also one of the teachers in the school, said that trouble started for the teacher following an argument which ensued between him and one of the ratings, identified as Aliyu.
The argument was said to have later degenerated into a fight between the ratings and the teacher, who fainted due to the beating he got from the military personnel.
The eyewitness, who craved anonymity, said, “I saw them arguing; they argued for a short time. I thought that it was a minor argument, so I did not intervene. It happened around 7.15am and at that time, I saw Aliyu trying to drag Ibrahim out of his car.
“Oyerinde (another rating) later instructed Aliyu to beat him (Ibrahim) and that was how the thing started. Another officer, Shodiya, came out from his vehicle and joined the other ratings to pounce on Ibrahim. They beat him with their thick belts to the extent that it got torn into pieces. All my attempts to pacify them were rebuffed.
“This was not the first time this would happen; this is the sixth time in two years that civilians working there (Navy school) have been brutalised and nothing has been done.”
Speaking on his sick bed at the FMC, Ibrahim said he was attacked by the ratings because one of them had accused him of hurling abuses at him.
Ibrahim said, “When I got to the gate of my office this morning, normally when you get there, a rating checks your car. I waited for them to do this but they didn’t come out.
“There were two buses at the gate blocking the entrance. I called one of the ratings, Aliyu, to ask what was going on. Instead, he just flared up and started abusing me.
“Another rating, Oyerinde, who was at the security post, threw a stone at my car. They were later joined by the most senior rating, Shodiya, who ordered that the ratings should beat me up.
“They used their iron belts to beat me, dragged me on the floor, used sticks and every other available thing to beat me up. People who were there tried to stop them but they refused until the commandant came out to stop them and by that time, I had already fainted.
“Almost all the parts of my body are aching. My head and back have been seriously battered, my ribs are affected and I have bruises in my mouth.”
When contacted on the telephone, the Commandant of the School, Captain M. A Olatunji, said he was not competent to speak to the press on the matter.
Olatunji, who later visited the victim at the FMC, said, “Before I can talk on any incident, I have to get a clearance from the authorities and I also need to see the person I am talking to.”