Wife, Naval officers, others quizzed
BY ADE ALADE, Abuja
Detectives attached to the Lagos State Police Criminal Investigation Department (SCID), Panti, have concluded investigation into the mysterious death of Rear Admiral Daniel Ikoli, the Fleet Commander, Western Naval Command, who was found dead in his Apapa residence on April 5.
Until his death, apart from being the Fleet Commander at Western Naval Command, Lagos, the Rear Admiral was also a member of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement (CADEP). Nigerian Navy authorities, his family and even his ethnic group, Ijaw in the Niger Delta had said Ikoli may have been assassinated as he had no cause to kill himself. The Police probe has however drawn the conclusion that the Naval Chief committed suicide. But how?
According to a reliable source at the Police Force Headquarters in Abuja, an interim report on the investigations was submitted by the Lagos Police CID to the State Commissioner of Police, Fatai Owoseni on Tuesday after which the CP communicated to the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris on their findings. Details of the report revealed that Admiral Ikoli committed suicide contrary to earlier speculations by the Navy, family and Ijaw National Congress as well as Ijaw Youths Congress that he was assassinated.
It was gathered that before his death, the Naval Chief had signed for a service pistol and 15 rounds of live ammunition for his personal use. “Investigations revealed that on the day of the incident, Admiral Ikoli fired two shots into the wall in his apartment. Neighbours who heard the gunshots immediately called his wife, Hositela Ikoli, who is based in Abuja, and alerted the Western Navy Command. Shortly after the call was made, his wife and a Lieutenant from his Command called him on phone and he picked, spoke to them and assured them that all was well. It was thereafter he pulled the trigger again and shot himself in the head,” the source said.
Detectives gathered that Admiral Ikoli’s apartment door was locked from behind and there was no sign of any intruder breaking in. Police probe further showed that only 12 rounds were left in his pistol, which meant that he shot three out of the 15 rounds he signed for.
To further establish that the deceased Naval Chief killed himself, his pistol and and finger prints had been sent to the Force Headquarters’ Forensic Department, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos for analysis and comparison. It was also gathered that police detectives from SCID, Panti, on Monday interrogated the widow of Admiral Ikoli, in Abuja, where she is based. “The report showed that the woman confirmed that she was alerted on the day of the incident after the initial two gunshots were heard from his apartment and she called her husband, who picked his mobile phone and assured her there was no problem”, the police source added.
Beside her, it was also learnt that, the police had equally interrogated the Naval Lieutenant who called Admiral Ikoli that night and some neighbours who alerted Mrs Hositela Ikoli.
Meanwhile, some naval officers still insist that he was assassinated, as he had no cause to kill himself. They based their argument on speculations that he had been pencilled down by President Muhammadu Buhari as the next Chief of Naval Staff and also earned a special promotion to his last rank from Commodore.
He was described as a disciplined, gentle, straightforward and honest man, who had no regard for protocol. “It is nothing but a murder case”, an officer who craved anonymity stated.
The source also said that because of his performance as the Commander, NNS Beecroft, all officers and the junior ones loved him. He was said to have transformed the place by introducing smart I.D. cards and increasing special duty allowance from N4, 000 to N12, 000. Although they reportedly referred to him as an introvert, he made sure that things worked properly and he had respect for all and zero tolerance for corruption.
…INC rejects police findings
From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Ijaw nation has dismissed a fresh Police report that indicated that the Fleet Commander of Western Naval Command, Admiral Daniel Ikoli committed suicide.
Speaking on the Police report the Ijaw National Congress( INC) and the Ijaw Youth Congress( IYC) expressed concern that there is a grand plan to treat what they described as the “assassination” of a high ranking Ijaw military officer with levity.
The President of INC, Harry Charles Alatubo in an exclusive interview with Saturday Sun explained that there was no rationale for Admiral Ikoli to kill himself.
According to him it is baffling that Admiral Ikoli, a high military officer of his status is suppose to have a security detail and there was nobody with him.
He insisted that Admiral Ikoli was callously murdered and the Ijaw nation would not allow his death to be swept under the carpet.
Alatubo noted that security agencies in the country should be bothered that a top military officer could be killed easily.
“There was no reason for Admiral Ikoli to have killed himself by simple deductions. Three bullets were found expended in the room where his body was found. There was no way someone that wants to kill himself would have shot himself three times. The security agencies and I mean the Police, DSS and military intelligence should look deeper into the circumstances surrounding his death. He was brutally and callously murdered and the issue of his death should be not been taken lightly. Ijaw nation would not accept his death to be swept under the carpet. It is an assassination and not a suicide. Those who committed this act should not be allowed to go scot free”
Also speaking the two the factional Presidents of the IYC were in agreement that the Police needs to do a better investigating job to unravel those behind the death of Admiral Ikoli.
Eric Omare explained that the Ijaw nation would not accept any fresh report from the Police to justify that Admiral Ikoli committed suicide.
According to him how would someone who has just been posted to take over the Fleet of the Western Naval Command commit suicide.
“If the Police said he committed suicide, they let us know the family people that were present when the autopsy was carried out. Who represented the Ijaw nation, the IYC or the INC when they carried out the autopsy? He was killed and they said he committed suicide, how is that possible. Let them allow Ijaw representatives to be where they want to carry out the autopsy for us to believe their story”
In his remarks Pereotubo Oweielaemi said not only has the IYC rejected all Police report pertaining to the actual cause of the death of Admiral Ikoli, the IYC is carrying out its own investigations to ascertain those who killed Admiral Ikoli and the motive for their action.
Oweielaemi said the spirit of an Ijaw man is very strong and there is nobody that can kill an Ijaw man that would go scot free.
“He did not commit suicide. He was killed and we are carrying out our own investigations unfortunately I can’t reveal the details to you. There was no reason for him to commit suicide, so we cannot accept the Police report”