Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt. Gen. Yusuf Buratai has ordered the Nigerian Army Corps, 6 Division Provost Group, 6 Division Headquarters in Port-Harcourt, to commence investigation into the alleged assault and torture of an Ovwian Community leader, Citizen Freedom Odiete by soldiers of the 3 Battalion in Effurun, Uvwie Local Government Area, Delta State.
DAILY POST reports that the COAS order follows a petition and a fundamental rights suit instituted against one Capt. Kingsley Ukuwani, the Nigerian Army and others by a law firm, Oghenejabor Ikimi & Co.
The COAS order was confirmed in a letter signed by Capt. B I Akintibubo on behalf of the Commander, Nigerian Army 6 Division Provost Group, 6 Division Headquarters to the law firm.
Part of the letter with reference number 6 Div/Prov/GP/G1/300/47 reads, ”In view of the above, I am directed to request you to please facilitate your client’s attendance of an interview with the Commander as agreed.
“Additionally, I want to add that you please cause your client to come along with relevant documents (if any) in support of your claim. Please accept the esteemed regards of the command 6 Provost Group Nigerian Army Corps of the Military Police.”
In the case against Capt. Kingsley Ukwuani od the Nigerian Army which is at the Otor-Udu High Court in Suit Number: OUCH/65/2018, the law firm is seeking for a billion naira damage against the army.
The Executive Director, Centre for the Vulnerable and Underprivileged, CENTREP, Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi Esq noted that public interest case/suit is geared towards promoting human rights culture in the polity stressing that it is not aimed at disparaging anybody or institutions.
Ikimi said,”We hope that the case/suit would serve as a lesson to the men in uniform to respect the fundamental rights of the civil population. “
It would be recalled that Citizen Freedom Odiete was intercepted at the popular Jigbale market by eight Soldiers at Ovwian.
The soldiers were led by Capt. Kingsley Ukwuani, head of operations at the 3 Battalion, Effurun at about 11:30am on the 21st of February, 2018.
The soldiers allegedly ordered Citizen Odiete at gun point to come down from his vehicle and enter the Hilux Van conveying them (soldiers).
Odiete complied with the order promptly and he was whisked away to the Army Barracks, Effurun by the rampaging soldiers.
At the Barracks, Odiete was stripped naked by the soldiers after which his legs and hands were chained by his abductors led by Captain Kingsley Ukwani, who severely assaulted and tortured him.
The soldiers had accused Citizen Odiete of being responsible for the disappearance of one Oghenerume Bejeru, an alleged robbery suspect caught in the act at the Ogodogun – Ogode Urban Area in Ovwian Town.
Odiete in the process of the torture sustained multiple bruises, lacerations to the buttocks and his left upper limb swollen.
After the torture, he was driven by two military policemen in their Hilux Van to the Area Command in Warri, where investigations commenced immediately at about 4:00pm same day.
The Area Commander, ACP Muhammad M Shaba ordered the release of Citizen Odiete after he was exonerated of any wrong doing on the 23rd day of February, 2018.
The victim was treated at the Nigeria Police Clinic, Area Command, Warri where he was issued a medical report.