Izu Reuben Junior, the brother to late Shooting Stars (3SC) of Ibadan footballer Izu Joseph (left), who was shot dead last Sunday by the JTF in Rivers State (Read here) has come out to categorically deny claims by the JTF that Izu was shot in a den of cultists (a cultist’s shrine), saying the JTF shot Izu Joseph twice contrary to reports released by the JTF Military that he was killed by a stray bullet.
In an emotional and heart breaking tale, Reuben explained how his brother was relaxing around his family compound in his hometown, Okarki – a boundary between Rivers and Bayelsa states, when officers from JTF in pursuant of criminals shot him on his leg at first, and even though he pleaded with the JTF officers that he wasn’t a criminal and showed them his club ID card to buttress his claim, they still shot him again and then dragged his body to a waterfront, covering his blood trail with sand in the process.
According to Reuben,if his brother was really a cultist or with cultists as the JTF military claim, what time will he have to play football professionally? Why was he shot twice even after he identified himself with his ID card? Why is the whole community who see Izu Joseph as a football hero/icon mourning his death? Why did they drag his lifeless body to the stream after going through his phone and confirming he was really a footballer? Why did they cover his blood stains and blood trail with sand? Why has the Ijaw Youth Council called the Nigerian military’s ‘he was in a cultist den/shrine’ claims as watery, provocative and insensitive? Why didn’t the JTF tell the media that they went to a ‘confidence building’ before shooting him?
‘They (JTF) are bringing another side of the story to cover up for what they have done, for the crime they have done’ says Izu Reuben.
‘Actually it happened on Sunday last week, my bro was supposed to leave the next day. He had met kids in our village, given out gifts,one or two things, watched footballers play local football and even shared forms to three players to go for trials at Nigerian clubs’
‘Just to encourage them”
‘After that he went to swim in the river close to our house, and he started hearing sporadic gunshots all over the place’ ‘People were running everywhere’
‘He ran out of the river to look for a place to hide as he saw some people running towards him also.’
‘One of the people who sustained bullet wounds from JTF ran into the river all in the name of safety and died there’
‘But that of my brother when he noticed the running and shooting, he decided to run to a direction near our house which his mind told him to run to, never knowing that he was actually running into direction of two of the JTF guys, so he was running into their direction, saw them holding guns and changed his direction to run opposite’
‘Then one soldier shot him at the leg, when they shot him he was just shouting and screaming, begging them not to kill him and brought out his NPFL ID card to show them that he was a footballer’
” I was in the river and heard a gun shot and his screams, i ran towards where he was shot and was watching it all, while taking cover’
”He was screaming telling a soldier he’s a footballer from 3SC, then the second soldier came, you know this soldiers that are not learned, the first soldier had already shot him and was listening to his pleas and trying to confirm if he was really a footballer and the second soldier just came and angrily shot him the second time between his waist and ribs. They killed him!’ Reuben said agonizingly.
”It was after going through his phone, they checked it and videos and pictures proved he was a professional footballer’
‘His actions, words, and phone proved to them he was really a footballer’
‘They then took his wallet and phone and in order to ‘cover up for what they had done they took his body and threw in the river”
‘And used sand to cover up the blood traces’ That was how they killed my brother’
That was how they killed my brother, there is no two ways about it”
‘There is an AIT video when you watch it you will see how the correspondent interviewed our family, interviewed the youth president, went to the stream interviewed the villagers.
‘I guess from what they are claiming…… wow!’
‘We are all in this country’
‘If you kill a notorious gang or cultist or robber, i think the villagers will come out and jubilate and thank the military, but in this case they were all condemning the killing, saying they killed a wrong person’ Villagers are sad’
‘It’s painful and sad to be talking about how they killed my bro, to be talking about him this way’
Izu Reuben also revealed that contrary to Military reports, the soldiers went to a ‘confidence building’ where they hyped themselves up and prepared to kill as much people as possible, so sparing the Izu Joseph’s life even though he begged them not to kill him, wouldn’t have upped their ‘confidence’
‘Did you have the audio of the military report?’
‘They went on a confidence building’ ‘Do you know what that means?’
I found out the meaning and what that means is that they were briefed that where they were going to they were going to be resisted’ ‘It’s just like you are going to a militant camp, they are armed directly to resist you’
So they went to the confidence building’ so when you attack and they resist and finally you conquer it’ll boost your confidence’ That is the meaning of the confidence building
If you can overpower this people when they show their head, then it’ll boost you’
‘Now they say they went on such a confidence building in my village and they went to a cult shrine, if you listen to all the media platforms even the commissioner for youth Rivers State was in the house this week’
‘ He said for what he knows there is no shrine, other than the traditional shrine that is in Okarki but then normally young man even if there is a notorious person that has been terrorizing, i think the law permits that if the person surrenders even if at that time you have incapacitated him, by one bullet in the leg, that you should not kill him’
‘If they had really known he was a Nigerian footballer they would have taken him alive and not kill him, ‘But because they knew him being alive will be bad news for them because he’ll be able to talk, they killed him” He continued.
‘It’s a sad news that our military can be like that even in the world, laws of military engagement, if your enemy surrenders and is incapacitated and cannot harm you and raises up the white flag, if you kill him then it’s genocide, its a crime, a war crime, an offence!’
What you do is you take him hostage, take him as a prisoner of war but in this case its not even war.’
‘You came to arrest a group of criminals’ ‘We are not kicking against the intelligence reports they must have heard
When they came in the course of going after the right persons killed an innocent person they should just come out and open up the truth, own up for their crime’
‘How can a professional footballer like my brother, someone who has been in Ibadan all these while playing football going from one state to the other, when was he perpetrating his cultist activities with this group of persons?’
‘Everything the JTF has said has been a lie’ ‘We seek justice” Reuben concluded in agony.
Watch the video from the ‘broken’ Izu Reuben below….