Barely seven months after he was promoted from the rank of a Commodore to a Rear Admiral, Daniel Teikumo Ikoli, an officer of the Nigerian Navy, has died in his residence in Apapa GRA, Lagos State.
He was said to have shot himself in the chest after firing two previous shots that hit the wall and the television set in his bedroom.
The deceased who was the Fleet Commander, Western Naval Command (WNC), threw the command of the Nigerian Navy, Apapa into shock and mourning, following news of the death of Ikoli, a former Commanding Officer (CO) of Nigerian Navy Ship Beecroft.
Ikoli was found in his apartment at Tamadu Barracks, Apapa, with a bullet launched into his heart, stone dead. Before his death, he was a member of the Presidential Committee on the Probe of Arms Deal. .
There were, however, diverse reports on how Ikoli died. While an impeccable police source said that Ikoli shot himself, another source revealed that Ikoli usually expressed worries about the possibility of assassins coming after him as a result of his membership of the arms deal committee. .
But another version said an unknown person fired him in the early hours of Wednesday. When the gunshots were heard, report said some naval personnel rushed to his apartment, only to discover that the door to the Admiral’s bedroom was locked from inside. It was reportedly forced open and he was found in a pool of blood.
According to a close aide to the deceased, a boy, who lives at his home claimed he heard gunshot from Ikoli’s room and took cover. “The boy said he heard gunshot and immediately took cover. His wife is in Abuja and his children school abroad. His orderly and Naval Assistant (NA) usually goes home after dropping him. .
“The bullet hit him on the chest. Three bullets were seen in his room. No one can really tell what happened but the position he was seen suggested he might have been scared of something or someone. He was a nice and intelligent officer. He was the one who spearheaded the renovations at BEECROFT when he was commander. It’s really a sad news.”
Initially, the navy had suspected it was an assassination attempt going by the deceased’s previous paranoia about assassination threats during his tenure as a member of the arms deal probe.
But after the police were invited and they did a sweep of the apartment and the scene of his death, preliminary investigations revealed that he had shot himself.
A statement by the Western Naval Command, signed by the command’s spokesman, Lieutenant Commander Chinwe Umar, read: “Gunshots were heard in the vicinity, where Rear Admiral Teikumo Daniel Ikoli resided in Apapa. When his room was opened, he was found dead. Police have been invited and investigation is ongoing. When the situation is clearer, an update would be given.”
Police sources at Area ‘B’ Command, Apapa, said: “When our men arrived the scene, it was discovered that the deceased apparently shot himself. But we have begun investigation to ascertain the circumstances surrounding the incident.”
However, there is confusion as to the cause of death. Officers, who worked under the deceased have expressed shock over his death, insisting he might have been assassinated. Sources said there is suspicion that armed bandits might have killed the Naval top shot.
A gun was reportedly found on his chest when his body was discovered. It was also learnt that there was a sign of a gunshot having been fired into his mouth.It was gathered that the naval officer left the office, on Tuesday afternoon, after complaining that he was not feeling too well. It was also gathered that Admiral Ikoli was battling an undisclosed illness, which made him lose weight. He as a result became withdrawn, in contrast to his usual boisterous personality.
Other sources further disclosed that the deceased was suffering from depression caused by the high dollar rate and unavailability of Foreign Exchange (Forex) for his children’s tuition.