The family of Lieutenant Benjamin Edim have been lamenting his death since he was gruesomely shot dead on Sunday July 26th of this year by fellow soldiers of the 144th Battalion.
Soldiers attached to the 144th Battalion in Asa, Abia State shot Lt. Edim dead during the rescue of an unknown victim who had been kidnapped in Ogunabor Local Government Area (LGA).
Prior to his death, Lt. Edim was the Head of Administration of the 144th Battalion, a position well known by all soldiers serving with him.
However, the mysterious circumstances of his death has lead his father Charles Edim to claim soldiers with the 144th Battalion are conspiring to cover up the truth.
Lt. Edim’s father told the media that he received information from one soldier from the 144th Battalion that the deceased “was generally viewed by most of his colleagues as being too dedicated, strict, and uncompromising in the discharge of his lawful official assignments.”
Authorities at the 144th Battalion told the family that Lt. Edim had been killed by friendly fire because his own soldiers did not recognize him during the rescue operation.
His father asserted that the military concocted a false story about the death of his son.
The suspicious events surrounding Lt. Edim’s death began when he was forced to drive himself alone to the rendezvous point with his fellow soldiers, which is not standard operating procedure because he is entitled to a driver.
It was when he arrived at the rendezvous point that he was fired upon by soldiers of the 144th Battalion, who claim that they did not recognize him.
The father also stated that “according to Lt. Col. K U. Sidi of the 144 Battalion Asa, Abia State, he said kidnap rescue operations are routine in which even himself used to be involved in at some times.
In such a regular routine operation how could the soldiers not recognize their Adjutant?”
It should also be noted that Lt. Edim was shot in broad daylight, 12:30pm according to sources. It was also learned that when Lt. Edim was not in possession of his weapon when his body arrived to the mortuary, which according to the family contradicts reports they received from the military.
The father stated that his lead him to believe that the military and soldiers of the 144th Battalion are culpable for Lt. Edim’s death and have lied to cover up death of his son.
It turns out that Lt. Edim had been shot six times in the mid-chest region. His body also showed evidence of lacerations and bruises on both his upper and lower limbs, leading the family to suspect foul play.
The family have requested that the human rights community investigate the death of Lt. Edim and provide closure for them given their suspicions.
They are also calling for the military authorities at the 82nd Division of the Nigerian Army, and the Chiefs of Army and Defense, to investigate this matter and the conduct of members of the 144th Battalion.