Michael Olugbode in Maiduguri
The correspondent of The Daily Post in Borno State, James Bwala, has cried out over the alleged killing of his dog by Nigerian Air Force personnel stationed at the Bakassi internally displaced personsâ€™ (IDP) camp in troubled Maiduguri, for want of meat.
Bwala said he was rudely awaken from sleep Thursday morning by the sound of gunshots which he initially thought was directed at a suicide bomber that might have tried to infiltrate the neighbouring IDP camp.
He said he was later to find out that the shots were at his dogs, Nchabla and Power.
Bwala said: â€œBy the time I stepped out of my house, my blood stained gate gave me a foreboding. One of my dogs, Nchabla, had been shot. The other one, Power, was completely traumatised.
â€œThere was no blood on Power but he was trying to communicate. So I patiently studied him and he ran towards the main road towards Bakassi camp and came back. I knew he was trying to show me something and I followed him.
â€œPower led me to where the shooting took place. There was a stream of blood there. But Nchabla was not there. I ask the people around and was told that the air force personnel was responsible for the shooting.â€
According to Bwala, one of the eyewitnesses said: â€œHe (an air force official) shot the dog and the dog ran towards your house, but he pursued him and shot again three times.â€
He said this explained the gunshots that woke him from sleep.
He added: â€œI decided to approach the commander or rather the officer in charge at the Bakassi camp to lay a complaint, but I was told he had gone out.
â€œI explained the situation to the soldiers on guard. My instincts told me that they knew something about it, but were just trying to cover up for whomever amongst them had shot at my dogs.
â€œI was angry but there was nothing I could do. They have the guns, they shot and killed my dog, they could shoot anyone. So I went back home picked my phone and called Col. Kingsley Samuel, the Deputy Director Army Public Relations.
â€œI explained the situation and he promised to do something about it.â€
A visibly upset Bwala maintained that the issue at hand was not just about his dog, but about where the air force official got four bullets to waste on a dog that was neither aggressive, nor had it trespassed into the Bakassi camp where the soldiers were stationed.
â€œI as a journalist have attended many sittings at the military court holding in Maiduguri. I know the last one had to do with a soldier who stole ammunition.
â€œI think the military authorities need to rise up to check some of these excesses,â€ he said.