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12 Jul 2017

Alleged Army stray bullet hit five-year old in Ibadan

Ongoing third term examination was abruptly disrupted Wednesday in a private nursery and primary school around Idi-omo, Ajobo area in Akinyele local government when bullets allegedly from a nearby army shooting range strayed into the school compound piercing the scalp of a five-year-old pupil.
The school which is located within the Ojoo axis of the state shares proximity with the 2 Division, Nigerian Army, Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment, Ibadan.

The five-year-old (names withheld), was said to be seated in his classroom in the company of his mates when the strayed bullet escaping through the roof of the building hit him on the head.

The stray bullets, according to sources allegedly entered the school compound from the 2 Div headquarters, which is currently holding her annual range classification.

The shooting range was said to have started since Monday 10th but a press release issued by the Commands public relations unit said the “annual range classification would hold from 12-14 July 2017 at Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment Range”, adding that “the aim of this exercise is to access troops on handling of personnel weapons, marksmanship skills as well as ascertain the level of training and their preparedness for battle.”

When The Nation visited the school, the school premises and environs wore strained look as bloodstain from the victim were still on the floor of the classroom and along the walk ways.

Bullets holes were also observed at different parts of the school building, passing through the roof into the asbestos and eventually the walls.

Apart from the classroom where the victim was hit, the school creche was not also spared but the children were luckier.

Officials of the school who pleaded anonymity confirmed the incident but reported that immediately the incident happened, the boy was taken to the army hospital inside the cantonment where he is undergoing treatment.

Parents who had children in the school and privy to the incident were said to have started calling each other and immediately rushed down to the school to pick their wards.

Also, The Nation observed that numerous school bags and food packs of pupils were seen pilled up at different parts of the classrooms with no student in sight to take them.

Officials of the 2Div were said to have visited the school upon the report by the school management and community leaders, to access the situation, take photographs and collect the bullet shells
Efforts to reach the parents and the victim as at press time proved abortive as the boy was said to be in stable condition.

The incident was said to have been the first to have happened in the school since it opens for operations in 2011.

A source who is familiar with the community told The Nation that the community had earlier won a court case against the Command carrying out the annual shooting range in the community adding that since the shooting range started on Monday, members of the community had been going to the authorities of the Command to complain of experiencing stray bullets on the roofs but that the military had insisted that the people come along with evidence to prove their point.

Deputy Director Army Public Relations of the army division, Col Ezindu Idima, in his reaction to the incident, said that the range was within the premises of the division, adding that the General Officer Commanding, Maj Gen Chukwunedum Abraham, had ordered an investigation into the allegation.

He said: “The 2017 annual range classification started at the division on July 10, 2017. The exercise will end on July 17, 2017. The range we use is located within the barracks; we did not start using the range today. Before the commencement of the exercise, we sent out the press release informing communities around about the exercise and to steer clear of the range area.

“The distance between the range and the nearest community is about 2000 meters. The effective range of the weapon we are using is about 300 meters. I don’t know how it will go beyond 2000 meters to the extent of destroying lives and property. The GOC has however ordered an investigation of the matter.”

Meanwhile, the press release issued to Journalist and signed by the Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, to state that an earlier information had been given the members of the community on the exercise stated that “communities living around Adekunle Fajuyi Cantonment are hereby informed not to panic on hearing the sound of weapons. However, they are advised to avoid the range area.

“In view of the importance of the above, you are please requested to disseminate this information to the general public”

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