An Abuja based lawyer, Bilyaminu Zigau, has petitioned the Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Ibrahim Yahaya, over alleged assault and brutality by a master warrant officer in the finance department of the army headquarters, Abuja, Chukwuemeka Okorie, on the suspicion that he swindled him.
In a petition signed by Mr Zigau’s lawyers, Mahmud & Co., and dated December 16, he revealed how was abducted and forcefully taken to Mambilla barracks, after having a meeting with the commanding officer, Lungi Barracks, Abuja, on December 9.
The lawyers explained that the services of Mr Zigau were engaged by Mr Okorie to help perfect a land title documents from the Nasarawa State Geographic Information System, NAGIS, with the sum of N500,00 as a service fee.
But the process, the lawyers said, had been delayed due to administrative bottlenecks.
The petition noted, however, that despite Mr Zigau’s frequent updates on the matter to Mr Okorie, he instructed his colleagues to deal with Mr Zigau on the suspicion that he was making excuses to swindle him.
The petitioner added that their client was denied access to his family, friends, and other essentials, revealing that he was treated as a hardened criminal.
The petition partly reads,”On Friday, December 9, 2022, our client had a meeting with the Commanding Officer (CO), Lungi Barracks, Abuja. Upon conclusion of the business with the CO, our client was accosted, assaulted, abducted, and forcefully taken to the Military Police Office at Mambilla Barracks, Abuja, on the purported offense of swindling Mr Okorie’s monies.
“At the Mambila Barracks, our client was handcuffed, shackled, brutally beaten, tortured, humiliated, poured cold water upon, and locked up in a guard room with water poured on the floor.
“Mr Okorie instructed the officers to deal with our client severely. Consequently, Lt Col Uwani, LT Malgwi, CSM Abu, WO Alfa, Sgt Musa, and Lance Corporal Frank humiliated, detained, and dehumanized our client for 4 days, kept his hands handcuffed and his feet in shackles as though he was a dangerous criminal, and denied him access to food, medication, his family, and friends.
“Our client’s family became traumatized when he was not seen and heard off. They made efforts to trace him by tracking his phone number. Attached and marked “Annexure A” are the copies of the geolocations of the phone number of our client when he was tracked.”
The petitioner further disclosed that during the search operations by the family, the case was also reported to the Mpape police station.
“The police collected the details of our client and his passport photograph, and the division sent signals to all the police divisions in the FCT. The police later informed his family that he was not in any police division in the FCT.
“The police intended to publish his details on Tuesday, the 13th day of December 2022. His family also searched all hospitals in Abuja during the period of his abduction, but he was not found.
“That on Monday, the 12th day of December 2022, the Officer Commanding (OC) Military Police, Mambilla Barracks, Lt Col. Uwani, personally supervised the further assault of our client before they handed him over to police at FCT Command.
The petitioner added that after the police investigation and realizing it was an administrative case, Mr Zigau was granted administrative bail.
“Upon his release, pictures of the brutality inflicted on our client were taken. Attached and marked as “Annexure B” are copies of the said pictures for your kind perusal.
“That our client further, on December 13, 2022, sought medical help from the National Hospital Abuja to tend to the injuries suffered by him. Attached and marked as “Annexure C” is a copy of the medical report issued from National Hospital Abuja dated 14th December 2022.
The petitioner therefore appealed to the COAS to investigate the matter and penalize those found guilty to serve as a deterrent to others, noting that a disciplined military officer is in the best interest of the country’s nascent democracy.
“From the foregoing, we humbly plead with you to use your good offices to investigate this criminal act of your military officers in the abduction, oppression, assault, dehumanization, and false imprisonment of our client and possible prosecution in accordance with Service Laws, to serve as deterrence for others”, the petition said.
Attempts by Daily Nigerian to get the response of the military was unsuccessful as the spokesperson for the Nigerian Army, Onyema Nwachukwu, didn’t answer nor reply to a message sent to his mobile phone number by our correspondent.
By Umar Audu
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