This is a small mercy given many things that Nigerians are going through these days, but one that restores a bit of hope in public officers.
Nigerian soldiers have very bad reputations for taking law into their own hands, people don’t want to mess with them as they have guns.
The other day I saw a video clip of Chijoke Uraku, a crippled man based in Onitsha being brutalised by two soldiers, Corporal Bature Samuel and Corporal Abdulazeez Usman in the middle of the street.
Chijoke’s sin? He wore a camouflage shirt. Wearing camouflage is an offence in Nigeria, soldiers are uptight about this as they feel civilian can disguise to commit crimes while pretending to be a soldier . I have seen too many people being publicly flogged for this reason by the soldiers. The thing is, there are plenty of ways for people to purchase a camouflage wear if people really wanted to one, either from second-hand shops or from out of country or can be hands me down – how much choice does one have if camouflage shirt is the only piece of clothing available to wear?
The army did not consider his disability, they dragged him off his wheel chair and the two soldiers descended upon him. It is only one minute video, it was too upsetting even for my poor eyes to finish.
That happened on a broad day light, why didn’t these soldiers think of a likelihood of them being video taped and reported? I bet they saw people videoing but they were too high on something or perhaps they were super confident they would get away with it.
This evening a press release says both Corporal Bature Samuel and Corporal Abdulazeez Usman were arrested, tried based on two counts charges (assault and violation of human rights) and both found guilty.
Verdict – both were demoted to Private soldiers and 21 days imprisonment with hard labour and no pay for those days.
This was a swift action by the Nigeria army and one that restores a bit of hope with public officers.
Goodluck to Mr Chijoke Uraku.