Nigeria: Harassment of Civilians by Men of the Nigerian Army At Ebute Road , Ibafo, Ogun State

By Okoh Kingsley O 08104976339

The Nigerian Armed Forces is saddled with a responsibility to maintain peace and order as well as secure lives and property and just as we applaud the heroics of the valiant and gallant men deployed in several parts of Northern and Southern Nigeria, we must not also turn blind eyes and keep our mouths shut on the excesses of some bad eggs in the Army who fail to work in line with its core values of “discipline”, “regimentation” and “professionalism” and have as well become threats to the lives of several unsuspecting citizens.

Today, 5th January, 2017 at about 6:45pm, I was confronted with a disheartening experience in the hands one of the men of the Nigerian Armed Forces. The fully dressed soldier in uniform without a name tag (for obvious reasons to enable him perpetuate his evil act) accompanied by a plainly dressed man most likely in his late twenties on a bike flagged down about five (5) of us; two of my friends, myself and two other guys, marched us to a corner and demanded that each of us part with the sum of N500 each, bail for a crime unknown.

Bewildered and surprised at the turn out of events, I had to ask why we were being paraded only to be threatened to be taken to their camp exerting frustration over the fact that he was yet to see his wife for a year. Some of us tried to make peace and pleaded not to have that amount with us at that moment but he would have none of it and it was in course of this that my mum whose shop was just about 10metres from the scene along Ebute Road, Ibafo, Ogun State was alerted and in a bid not to see her son suffer having heard previous tales of how these men take innocent, unsuspecting children, men and women alike to their camps where they are falsely accused of crimes they did not commit and are meted out unjust punishments, wrongful detention and merciless beatings at the hands of this cruel soldiers. She started pleading on behalf of us all but this also fell on deaf ears and then she proceeded to pay off the soldier.

The soldier left with two innocent boys today who had no money to finance their ‘bail’ with their only crime being that they avoided crime and are law-abiding citizens. I was later informed these boys were returned moments later heavily bruised from the various illegal beating meted to them by the ‘bad eggs’ of the Nigerian Military. It was still reported that the boys were still not released and the soldier demanded that they were bailed before they would be left to go.

The raid is still ongoing and may not make the news but more innocent children, men and women who are unable to settle their ‘bail’ will be detained and illegally harassed by these men. The next person may be your brother, sister, daughter, son, father, mother, uncle, aunty, friend, in-law etc. who would be faced with harassment if you and I will continue to fold our hands and choose not to cry out against these unjust and illegal activities perpetrated by men of the Nigerian Armed Forces. Prior to now, there have been reports of rape, battery amongst other vices by these men in this area.

The people of Ibafo may have no strong voice to cry out on their behalf but I can only ask:

Should they continue to live in fear at the hands of those who are meant to protect them? Has it become a crime for people not to commit crime? Are civilians supposed to suffer when these men are frustrated?

There are several other questions to ask but I would conclude by making you understand that this is just a little smoke to the fire still to come. Soon, there will be no one on the streets to harass and these soldiers will start barging into our homes at a time when there will be no one to cry out to. May it not be too late by that time.

It would take you no less than a minute to forward this message across several pages and platforms so that the right authorities may be aware and take needful steps.

God Bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria

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