The family members of Damilare Taiwo, an Economics student at the University of Lagos, Akoka, have been thrown into mourning following his death a day after he resumed for training at the Nigerian Defence Academy in Kaduna State.
The army authorities reportedly said the 20-year-old slumped and died during a training session last Tuesday.
But the family revealed that the circumstances surrounding Damilare’s death aroused suspicion, claiming that he was beaten to death.
A brilliant student with a CGPA said to be in the range of Second Class Upper Division, the native of Ile-Ife, Osun State had always wished to be an accomplished army officer.
He had applied for the Regular Combatant Course of the NDA in 2015 at 17, but did not make the list of the successful candidates. Undeterred by hard luck, promising Damilare reapplied for the programme a few months ago.
He was shortlisted on August 8, 2018, among the 10 selected candidates from Osun State for the 70 Regular Combatant Course, coincidentally at a time when he was rounding off his first degree project.
On Saturday, August 25, his father saw him off to Ikorodu Garage – some distance from their residence – beaming with joy that the first child of the family was about to embark on a journey to attain enviable ranks in the profession he had been nursing for years.
“He left Lagos for Kaduna that Saturday, a day after he concluded his project in school, and reported at the training camp on Monday, August 27,” the deceased’s father, Mr. Taiwo Oyedele, told our correspondent.
Narrating Damilare’s journey through life, Oyedele said his death came to the family as a rude shock.
“When he wanted to leave for Kaduna that Saturday, I advised him to be a good ambassador of the family and prayed for him. He was an easy-going child. He had always wanted to be a soldier.
“In one of his pictures on Facebook, he edited the image of the late Gen. Murtala Muhammed in the N20 note and replaced it with his picture. That is to tell you the passion he had for the Force and how far he wanted to go.
“He had been showing interest in the army since 2011 when he was 13. It is so unfortunate that he could not accomplish his mission.
“The army sent some officers to us last Thursday to tell us about his death. They told us that he collapsed during a training session on Tuesday (August 28).”