The security apparatus of any nation is a beacon of hope and pride at any point in time. Their duty is to protect the territorial integrity of the nation, maintain peaceful co-existence and protect the citizens in all ramifications. The issue of human rights abuses and brutality by some overzealous Naval officers attached to the AMAC Environmental Task Force should be condemned by all and sundry. There have been several incidents of military men openly assaulting citizens with impunity and this act is totally uncalled for and should be condemned by well-meaning Nigerians.
This case was greeted with wide condemnation and we are totally disappointed at the conduct of the naval officer and men of the AMAC Environmental Task Force.
The Naval Officer, Petty Ayuba, the Naval authorities and indeed the FCT administration should realize that we are no longer in the military era where all sorts of atrocities were committed with flagrant impunity by security men and they went scot free. This time around, it is no more business as usual and security agencies and the military should realize this and treat people with civility because it is their duty to protect the citizens and not to maim them.
A situation where security agents brutalize Nigerians at the slightest provocation can no longer be tolerated by the people. Any security agent who violates people’s rights should realize he will definitely be brought to justice no matter how long it takes as any paramilitary agency is expected to relate with civilians with a measure of decorum and civility as obtainable in civilized societies. The issue of uncontrolled and excessive anger by security men over minor and insignificant issues of disagreement with civilians is totally uncalled for and should be highly discouraged
- A case in point is that of the Executive Director of the Civil Society legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, Mallam Auwal Ibrahim Musa aka Rafsanjani, who was on the 1st August, 2013 manhandled, dragged him on the floor and hit him with clubs and cudgel and arrested by members of the Abuja Environmental Protection Board Task Force. The incidence occurred within Abuja metropolis as he tried to intervene in defense of helpless individual harassed and assaulted by these brutal and power drunk paramilitary outfit who have constituted themselves into a Gestapo group in the purported bid to enforce environmental laws in the FCT.
- In 2005, a certain trigger-happy and overzealous naval officer, Mr Felix Olanrewaju Odunlami was driving along the Allen roundabout in Ikeja, Lagos when a commercial motorcyclist popularly known as okada, Peter Edeh accidentally hit the naval officer’s car from behind with his motorcycle and upon the realization of his offence, he knelt down and begged the naval officer for forgiveness but the officer refused to be appeased. Instead, in anger, he reached out for his gun in his car, asked Peter to open his mouth and he shot him directly in his mouth resulting in his instant death. He killed him just because he mistakenly hit the naval officer’s car with his motorcycle. What justification can there ever be for this type of brutality, excessive anger and man’s inhumanity to man?
- On Tuesday 6th January 2013, at the Alegongo area of Akobo, Ibadan, Oyo State, some soldiers attached to the Oyo State government demolition task force brutally, almost fatally, assaulted a man who, being a media professional, had attempted to take snapshots of the demolition spree embarked upon by the soldiers as members of a task force ordered to bring down shops of traders who stood in the way of government’s city beautification effort. Mr Laolu Harolds, an Assistant Editor with the Nigerian Tribune, was on his way to work that Tuesday morning when he spotted the demolition effort and naturally thought to capture the scene on camera for publication.
Although Mr Harolds maintained a respectable distance by standing on the opposite side of the demolition scene, the soldiers were not impressed with his finesse.
Having quickly charged and convicted him of the crime of being a hoodlum, the soldiers descended on him in droves, slapped, kicked and made him to roll on the floor, while lacerating his skin with a three-mouthed horse-whip. In a sheer display of sadistic pleasure, the soldiers repeatedly hit Mr Harolds on the head and, by the victim’s own account, “If I had not been defending my head, my face would have completely been distorted.” Their murderous urge satisfied, the brutes eventually released the reporter from their hold, seized his camera and ordered him “to run like a mad man.” By the time he was taken to the University College Hospital, Ibadan, doctors confirmed that, in addition to the many bruises in different parts of his body, he had sustained a rare fracture on his neck and was in need of urgent attention to prevent fatality.
Abuse and Rape of Women
There are also reported cases of abuse of rape of women by the task force. This is usually done under the guise of branding them commercial sex workers. There was a pathetic case of where an innocent women having closed from her office was abducted when she stopped by for a transaction at an ATM machine. Several of such women when picked up on Friday evenings are forced to remain in detention until Monday and there have been several allegations of being subjected to rape and all forms of sexual abuse by their abductors who masquerade as Task Force members. This is of great concern to us as it violate the rights of women, and dignity and in the cases of married women, a basis for family crises and rejection as they are exposed to all forms of sexually transmitted diseases, in addition to the psychological trauma.
From all intents and purposes, this action smirks of a new wave of terror and unbecoming of the so called agents of Abuja Environmental Protection Bureau (AEPB) and the Naval officer involved who are supposed to maintain sanity within Abuja and its environs. We find assault more appalling, to say the least, that if the likes of Auwal Musa who have used his NGO platform to contribute immensely to sustaining the tempo of our hard-earned democracy is now being hounded and made to suffer unduly even in the hands of overzealous environmental operatives, we therefore wonder where lies the fate of ordinary citizens in Nigeria.
On the role of the Police:
In this instance, we must commend the professionalism by men of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) SARS team (Wuse Branch) for its timely intervention in the rescue of a situation that would have degenerated into more brutal scene as they had already bundled their victims into the unmarked waiting hilux. It is worthy of mention that the men of the Police Force conducted themselves and indeed demonstrated that the ongoing reform in the force seem to be having its toll on the conduct of its men.
- We call on the National Human Rights Commission to quickly commence investigation into this ill-fated incident and bring to book the Naval Officer Patty Ayuba and men of the AEPB attached to the Area 3 and its environs.
- We call on the Chief of Naval Staff to cause an investigation that involves a one Naval Officer Patty Ayuba, this smirk of a new wave of citizen’s violation by Naval officers expected to secure water ways theft around our National pipeline.
- The Minister of the Federal Capital Territory should use his good office to cause sanity to return in the activities of these men and women who are ironically engaged by taxpayer’s money. Nigerian civil society community is embarrassed by this development and expects prompt apologies from these erring operatives
Jaiye Gaskiya Ezenwa Nwagwu
Say No Campaign – Nigeria Say No Campaign – Nigeria