On Monday, June 20, 2022, some military personnel reportedly shot dead 17-year-old Yusuf Umar, a fuel attendant at AYM Shafa filling station in Minna, Niger State. The manager of the filling station, Sa’ad Umar, and a brother of the deceased, Mohammed, speak to AISHA WAKASO about the tragic incident
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Sa’ad Umar. I am the manager of this (AYM Shafa) petrol station. I am 29 years old.
What happened in your petrol station on Monday, June 20, 2022 that led to the death of one of your attendants?
On Monday afternoon, I was in my office when a staff member came to inform me that some air force personnel had come to refill their Hilux vehicle and since I am the one who usually attends to them personally for accounting purpose, I came out to attend to them.
When I got outside, I saw some men in mufti sitting down and a local manicurist was about to start cutting one of the people’s nails. I objected to that and requested that they move away from the pumps to avoid fire outbreak since manicurists usually use lighters to burn their tools, as a way of sterilising 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 said I didn’t care to know at that point; I was only concerned about the safety guidelines of my workplace.
When the man insisted that he must have his nails cut in the filling station, I instructed the manicurist to leave, but the men to 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 to call the air force base accountant, Mr Akuma, which is a regular practice, as we have a retainership with them, with an arrangement for them to come to collect fuel and pay directly from the office. I called the accountant to also report that his men were going against our safety standards but he didn’t pick the three calls I placed to him.
While I was dialing the accountant’s number, one of the men in uniform got angry, saying I was wasting their time. But I told him I needed to get confirmation before giving them fuel. The next thing was that one of them slapped me, shouting, “Who are you to be talking to my oga like that?”
Then another one slapped and kicked me. I fell and they descended on me, beating me. I started shouting, demanding why they were harassing me. The place became rowdy. Amid the confusion, one of them rushed to the Hilux van and brought out a knife, while another one got a cutlass.
As people were trying to intervene, I was trying to run into my office when I heard two gunshots and I saw Yusuf on the ground in a pool of his blood with a cutlass cut in his hand.
They (the air force personnel) drove off immediately. We carried Yusuf and started rushing him to the hospital but he died before we could make it to the hospital.
Have you reported the incident to the leadership of the air force base?
Yes, we have. They have even visited us and they said the officers involved were already arrested and detained. They said the officers had no business shooting at anyone. They said investigation was going on and assured us that the blood of our brother would not be shed in vain.
What part of the body did the bullet hit the deceased?
He was hit on his arm and his chest.