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BRUTALITY! Soldier Kicks Cobbler To Death, Secretly Buries Him In Lagos

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For years, soldiers attached to Giwa Barracks, Kingsway Road Ikoyi, Falomo, Lagos State, have been using some shoe cobblers as unpaid labourers. Countless times, these soldiers would order the cobblers to leave their work and follow them into their barracks to do menial jobs.
These cobblers had often grumbled, but it was always a silent one. None of them had ever had the nerve to challenge an armed man, let alone a soldier. All they wanted was just to make a bit of money from their trade, to take care of their wives and kids. But on December 21, 2015, four days to Christmas, everything changed.
The supposedly timid cobblers bared their fangs and claws after one of their colleagues, Kabiru Rabe, a 27-yearold father of two was stomped to death by the military boots of an angry soldier from Giwa Barracks. The cobblers teamed up and petitioned army and police authorities.
The soldier, identified as Sergeant Danbaba, nicknamed Kurfo, was said to have first used a plank to repeatedly hit Rabe until he fell to the ground, before he started stomping on him with his booted legs. He stomped on Rabe until he died. When Danbaba realised that Rabe was dead, he carried and buried him in a cemetery at Agege without the deceased’s family being alerted. They didn’t even know Rabe was dead before they heard that he had been interred. The Army Authority has described Danbaba as Unknown Soldier, while police said it was already looking into the case.
The Lagos State Police Command, Public Relations Officer (PPRO), a Superintendent of Police, Mrs. Dolapo Badmus, said the command was doing everything possible to arrest the Unknown Soldier. Badmus added: “The State Criminal Investigations Department (SCID), Panti, Yaba, is in charge of the investigation. As at now, the identity of the soldier has not been known. We’re working with the Army Authority, with a view to identify and know the formation the suspect is attached to. We assure the family of the deceased that the suspect will be found!”
One of the cobblers said: “Sergeant Kurfo came to where Rabe was working with his fellow colleagues. The soldier called five of them; Hamza Abdullahi, Nuradeen Bala, Uzairu Yahaya, Alhassan Danladi and Kabiru Rabe. He said they should follow him to barracks, that there were jobs for them to do. But Rabe had an ear piece plugged. He was listening to his music. He didn’t hear Kurfor calling. Danbaba felt slighted. He got angry and before one could say Jack Robison, the soldier killed Rabe.”
The cobblers said that Rabe’s corpse was secretly buried at Agege Cemetery on December 22, 2015, the second day after he was murdered. “The soldiers, accompanied by the commandant of the barracks, Commander Usman, without informing the family and friends of the deceased buried Rabe,” said the cobblers. An eye witness, Danladi Alhassan, said that sometimes, Danbaba would order the cobblers into the barracks to embark on menial jobs that would take the whole day. Most times, their cobbling work suffers.
Alhassan said: “On that fateful day, we were all outside, about to start the day’s work when Danbaba came. He ordered five of us to come to the barracks. Rabe was alone and he was wearing ear plugs. He couldn’t hear what the soldier was saying. Danbaba however thought Rabe intentionally ignored his command. “He took Rabe aside and told him that he didn’t want him to work again.
He then took a stick and started hitting Rabe repeatedly. He used his booted legs to stomp on him. Rabe collapsed. Danbaba now ordered the rest of us to go and finish the task he gave us. I worked for close to an hour and when I came back, I saw Rabe’s body on the ground. Danbaba was acting funny. He had a tin of milk in his hands. He was forcing it into Rabe’s mouth, but the mouth had gone stiff.
“Danbaba further tried to pry open Rabe’s mouth with a screw driver but it also didn’t work. Rabe was already dead. I was shocked.” Alhassan urged the police and government to take an interest in the murder of Rabe. He added: “I’m an old man, yet this soldier used to come here every time to order me to do hard labour. The soldier must be arrested and charged to court to face the wrath of the law. Some illegal actions on the part of many soldiers should be stopped.”
Some of them, who had in one way or another been dealt with by some of these soldiers, recounted their bitter experiences. Bala Ahmed said: “Since I came here seven years ago, soldiers had always been coming to use us. They come whenever we are working to order us to do some jobs inside the barracks. They wouldn’t pay us. This is mostly done by Danbaba. He comes here always and barks out orders.”
Ahmed said that whenever they sighted Danbaba, every cobbler used to scurry away, attempting to hide. “We had no choice than to do what he wants. We really don’t have a choice since it is the only place where we get money to live on. There was even a time Danbaba called and sent me to go and get a local food for him without giving me money. When I asked for money, he sent me away,” recounted Ahmed.
Ahmed continued his narration: “Another time, he called many of us and gave us work to do from 7am till 6pm. At the end, he gave us two sachet waters as payment. Even during fasting period, he would order us to work in their barracks. The government should help us. Let the soldiers stop this cruel punishment. We don’t have much money to live on, but the little we make, is what these soldiers are trying to destroy.
“We came to Lagos to fend for our families, so that we can make little money to cater for our families. Some of us are farmers. The money we get here is used in buying seedlings to plant in our farms. We want government to tell the soldiers to stop torturing us.” Habib Yinusa, a cobbler and part time labourer, said soldiers were their major problem in the area.
Yinusa said: “Soldiers don’t allow us any respites until we carry out their wishes. Danbaba most especially, is fond of troubling us. Danbaba usually orders us into their barracks to water plants, sweep, wash clothes, cars and toilets. Sometimes we would be asked to carry sand and broken blocks.” It was however apparent that the commandant of the barracks didn’t know what was going on right under his nose.
Yinusa further said: “Sometimes, when the commandant is coming, the soldiers would tell us to stop working. Once the commandant leaves, they would order us to continue working. At the end of everything, we won’t be paid a dime. It’s a hard life for us. We are all fending for ourselves. We need help because we have no voice in situations like this. We urge the government to come to our aid and save us from the hands of these cruel soldiers.”
Kabiru Amisu, elder brother to Rabe, said their father is 72-year-old and usually looks forward to receiving money from Rabe every month. The money was to support in the farm work. Amisu said that since the murder of his kid brother, their father had never been the same. Amisu added: “My brother has a pregnant wife, waiting for him at the village, with two children. The kids were hoping to see their father. Rabe had always been a very hardworking man even before he came to Lagos.
He used to take care of his family and farm. His death is a blow on the family because the only supplier is gone. We need justice and the soldier must not go scot free.” Amisu suggested that it wouldn’t be a bad idea if the government compensated Rabe’s wife and kids by continuing to provide the basic amenities needed for them to survive. He added: “But we most especially, we want to see the body of Rabe.
This was a special request by his father. The old man wasn’t notified before his son was buried.” Among the friends of Rabe is Lawal Kabiru. Kabiru had already filed a petition against the soldier. He said: “After Danbaba killed Rabe, he didn’t know what to do. He tried reviving him, but all his efforts failed. Danbaba took the body to Falomo Hospital. It was there the body was confirmed dead. Seeing this, the soldier placed the corpse on a motorbike and carried it to Polo Club, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, where friends of Rabe stay.
Danbaba then dropped the body there and lied to them that Rabe fell sick and died. Nobody believed him. Danbaba left the corpse there with the cyclist. He called his colleagues. They came to pick him. People around there ordered the cyclist to take the corpse back to its killer. On getting back to the barracks, the cyclist was instructed to go and dispose of the body. But some of Rabe’s friends encountered the cyclist on the way and stopped him. When the soldiers heard this, they came and ordered everyone away.
The soldiers called Lagos State Emergency Management Bus (LASEMBUS), which took the body to the Military Hospital to be deposited at the mortuary. “The next day, I filed a petition against the soldier at the station. The soldiers there wasted my time by delaying me unnecessary. But unfortunately for them, I had called some other people to monitor the soldiers. It was then I was told that the soldiers had gone and bury the body at the Agege Cemetery. I was really angry because no one was notified of it. I think the government should take up this matter seriously. This beating and ordering of innocent people should also be stopped.”
Part of the petition, written to the army and police authorities in Lagos demanded for full investigation into the murder of Rabe. The family in the petition added: “We want to bury our son according to Islamic rite. We appeal to police and army authorities to investigate the killing and the whereabouts of the corpse.”

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