Navy Admiral, Daniel Ikoli, Found Dead After Suspected Suicide

Barely seven months after he was promoted from the rank of navy commodore to rear admiral, Daniel Teikumo Ikoli of the Nigerian Navy was suspected to have taken his life on Wednesday in his residence at No. 8B Roycroft Street, Apapa GRA, Lagos.

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 house.

After the incident, the steward who was living with him in the house when Ikoli took his life was invited for questioning by the police.

According to sources, the boy said he heard the first gunshot the way others did and took cover, prompting him to make phone calls to others to come to his aid.

When THISDAY visited his house in Apapa, it was as quiet as a grave yard, as no soul was found there, although some neighbours said his body had been removed and taken to the morgue.

Before his death, the late Ikoli had also been a member of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement (CADEP), which he joined in 2015 after President Muhammadu Buhari assumed office.

The brief of the 13-man committee when it was commissioned in August 2015 by the National Security Adviser (NSA), Maj.-Gen. Babagana Monguno (rtd.), was to investigate the procurement of hardware and munitions in the Armed Forces between 2007 and 2015.

After the committee had submitted its third interim report to the presidency, which had indicted several former service chiefs and other retired and serving senior armed forces personnel, he alongside other serving members of the committee were promoted.

Buhari had given special promotions to them in recognition of their high level of dedication, immense commitment and honesty while serving on the committee.

After the committee was disbanded in 2016, the late Ikoli had reported to the naval headquarters in Abuja to be debriefed and was redeployed to Lagos.

Before his appointment to the committee, he was the Commander of Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Beecroft under the Western Naval Command (WNC) in Apapa, Lagos. After his appointment in Abuja, he was redeployed to the WNC but this time as the Fleet Commander.

Although it was impossible to reach his family for comments on what might have led to his suspected suicide, sources said he might have taken his life either due to illness, the alleged assassination threats during his membership of the arms deal committee, or depression.

After concluding his job on the committee, the once charming, sociable and outgoing officer, according to naval sources, became a shadow of his former self and it even showed in his physical appearance, as he was said to have lost a lot of weight.

According to one source who spoke off the record, he became “withdrawn” and “seemingly depressed”. Indeed, on one occasion when a THISDAY reporter who covers the military had expressed dismay at his appearance, he explained that he had been sick but was on the road to recovery.

THISDAY investigations showed that when he killed himself, his aide had dropped his service pistol at home as was the norm, before departing for his own house.

It was the same pistol that the deceased allegedly used to fire at his chest before dying in a pool of his own blood in his two-bedroom apartment.

However, on Monday, the late Ikoli was said to have gone to work and showed no signs that he was suicidal.

In fact, sources said he had gone about his work for the day before complaining that he was not feeling too well and had to go home to take his medication.

A navy captain, who spoke on the condition anonymity, said: “We were all at work on Monday when he told us that he was not feeling well and that he needed to go home to take his medication.

“Since we had other functions, I suggested that he goes to the FOC (Flag Officer Commanding) to take permission, which he did and left for his house with his naval aide.”

When news got to the WNC of his death, the navy initially suspected that Ikoli had been assassinated on the basis of the alleged assassination threats during his tenure as a member of the arms deal probe.

However, after the police were invited and they did a sweep of the apartment and the death scene, preliminary investigations revealed that he shot himself.

Speaking on the tragic incident, the general suspicion among his colleagues was that he was depressed and had lost the will to live.

A senior officer, who preferred not to be named, said the depression could have stemmed from his ordeal on the arms probe panel.

He said the deceased should have undergone therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after his new assignment, given the tension and turmoil he must have experienced while working on the committee.

He said: “Perhaps, if he had gone through therapy for PTSD, he might still be alive. It’s not only those that go to warfronts that should be taken through PTSD therapy.

“Officers who are deployed to specialised committees and task forces should, as a matter of necessity, be de-stressed immediately.”

Speaking on the incident, the Flag Officer Commanding, WNC, Rear Admiral Fergusson Bobai (WNC), said when Ikoli’s room was opened, he was already dead.

A statement by the command’s Information Officer (CINFO), Lieutenant Commander Chinwe Umar, quoted the FOC as stating that Ikoli’s lifeless body was discovered after gunshots were heard in the vicinity.

He said: “In the early hours of Wednesday, gunshots were heard in the vicinity where Rear Admiral Teikumo Daniel Ikoli resides in Apapa.

“When his room was opened, he was found dead. The police were invited. The investigation is ongoing. When the situation is clearer, an update will be given.”

Born on October 2, 1965, the 52-year-old was a football fan and an avid supporter of Arsenal Football Club. He was also a dog lover.

He was admitted into Course 33 Class of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) with service number NN1144 and enlisted in the Nigerian Navy on January 4, 1983. He was commissioned on January 4, 1986.

The father of four was made a midshipman on June 25, 1985 and became a sub-lieutenant on January 4, 1987. He later rose to the rank of lieutenant on January 4, 1991.

On January 4, 1996, he was promoted to the rank of lieutenant commander and on January 4, 2001, he became a commander. On January 4, 2006, he was promoted to captain.

On January 4, 2011, he rose to the rank of a commodore where he headed NNS Beecroft and on January 4, 2015, he made the rank of rear admiral.

When the Bayelsa indigene joined the navy, he specialised as an Above Weapons Warfare (AWW) officer.

At NNS Beecroft, where he left for the arms deal probe, he will be remembered for the computerised state-of-the-art edifice he set up at the gate, the construction of the modern officers mess and senior ratings mess, as well as the refurbishment of buildings under his base.

Among his colleagues and junior officers, he was regarded as an officer and gentleman.

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