He looked young and innocent as nothing in his mien could have suggested that 23-year-old Isaac Adejuwon (not real name) was one of the men of valour who had been keeping Nigeria safe.
But while he could have been celebrated as a hero, the young man got caught in an act that has only brought shame to him and his family.
The police have withheld his identity pending when the military would be notified of his crime.
When our correspondent spoke with him at the Department of Criminal Investigations of the Ogun State Police Command, at Eleweran, Abeokuta, he said what the Nigerian Army was paying him was enough but that he simply wanted more, which was why he decided to carry out a few robberies before going back to his Maiduguri base in Borno State.
But he did not think he could do it alone despite the fact that he had military training. The soldier who has been a part of the Nigerian troops battling the Boko Haram insurgency in the northern part of the country, explained that he was on a 10-day leave from Operation Zama Lafia.
“Usually, among those of us taking part in Operation Zama Lafia, the army regularly chooses 10 soldiers to go and spend 10 days with their family. It was my turn this time. But I wanted to make some money before going back to Maiduguri,” Adejuwon said.
When Adejuwon got to his hometown, in Ibiade area of Ogun State, he immediately contacted his childhood friend, 20-year-old Fasasi Idris.
He said, “When I suggested robbery to Idris, he told me that he knew an uncle of his that we could rob. So, on January 27, 2015, we visited the man in Ibadan to see how we could rob him. But when we got to his house, he entertained us in such a way that I had a change of heart.
“I told Idris that the man was too nice for us to rob. Idris also agreed and we left the man. While on our way back to Ibiade, we realised that the private car that we boarded had just a passenger along with the driver and both of them did not understand Yoruba. Right inside the car, we decided to snatch the vehicle.
“I had bought a military jack-knife for N3,500 and also bought a locally made pistol before I left Maiduguri. I gave the knife to Idris while I held on to the loaded gun.”
When the vehicle transporting the two men got to a bridge near Sagamu, Adejuwon pleaded with the driver to stop because he was pressed and needed to urinate urgently.
Adejuwon said, “I told him I could not go any further without urinating. When he stopped and I pretended to urinate, I brought out the gun and went to the driver’s side while I also signalled to Idris to handle the passenger.
“I pointed the gun to the driver and he was resisting, so, I decided to release a shot in the air. While I struggled for the key with him, the driver stabbed me in the hip and I was bleeding heavily.”
Idris succeeded in restraining the other passenger who later fled along with the driver.
The two young men sped off in the car and took it to their hometown in Ibiade.
However, they both ran out of luck when they got to the town and Adejuwon sighted a young girl he had a romantic interest in.
“I decided to give the girl a lift and we were riding around the town when policemen at a checkpoint arrested us. We could not explain how we got the car. We actually wanted to sell the car but we could not get a buyer before we were arrested,” he said.
When he was asked whether he had the intention of going back to Maiduguri to continue his duty, Adejuwon said, “Yes sir. I would be happy to go back to continue my military duty. I like being a soldier. I killed many Boko Haram members. I really enjoyed that. I joined the army two years ago when I was looking for a job.”
The police have also withheld specifics about Adejuwon’s military identity.
Idris, who said he only went along with the robbery plan because he had no job, explained that he was an air conditioner technician but had no money to establish himself.
“My father is late and my mother is not doing so much in Ibadan. I am the one taking care of myself. That’s why I needed money,” he said.
The police spokesperson in Ogun State, Mr. Muyiwa Adejobi, said investigation was still ongoing and that the police would inform the military about the case.