A human rights Activist, Austin Aduba, a lawyer has condemned in a strong term what he called alleged barbaric manner in which soldiers tortured a resident of Bonny Island, one Justus Jim-Halliday.
The yet-to-be identified soldiers had purportedly subjected their victim to severe corporal punishment whille enforcing compliance to the government’s directive of another lockdown in parts of Rivers state.
The soldiers were said to have subjected the victim to dehumanising experience ostensibly because he approached them to gain access to collect his phone charger during the lock down of the metropolis.
Giving a graphic details of the incident, the Lawyer explained that the recent lockdown announced by the River state government last week was fully enforced in Bonny Island on Monday, June 21 2020, as it got more than 80% compliance by residence.
The victim’s who narrated his ordeal in a statement signed by his counsel on Wednesday said, “The next day, after observing from my area that people were moving around in face mask, I also got my face mask and walk up to the soldiers to appeal to them to grant my request to allow me pick up a charger from two shops away from where they were stationed and this was my only crime”.
“They (Soldiers) started by laughing at me and told me that it wasn’t hospital emergency or food but charger. The next thing without telling me to go back home or go to where I wanted, one of them told me to hold on to a piller for strokes of wipe”.
“The next thing was a wipe sound close to my ear and before I turned the man was raising his hands for another one so I held his hands and asked “Why should he flog me and what was my offence?”
“While talking, an addional three personnel approached and was trying to overpower me to get wipped and one was actually hitting me with the head of a GUN. I laughed at him and said,”Hmmmm.. ok” the man in-charge tried to slap me for my exclamation. Then one of them ‘Cracked a gun’ and told me he would shoot me”.
“Surprisingly, we had the Bonny Local Government Covid-19 team in a bus at the junction of Akiama where this incident is taking place with Bright Hart and Comr Williams Ogbah Agwu in the bus watching or not, I can’t tell but honestly it is stupid not to notice a struggle like that”.
“After all the struggle, the man in charge told them to leave me and told me to follow him. Which I did and he order me to lie inside a dirty water which is there normal punishment for civilians and which also stands as abuse of power”.
“Shortly, a man with higher rank came by and put handcuffs on me like a criminal and told me to still stay inside the water. But while this was going on i noted that none of these personnels in uniform had their name tags on except the officer who handcuffed me and his aide”.
“Not quite five minutes somes from the bus parked at a distance came down to have a words with the most senior officer who later informed me that I would be following him to the barracks and he had somewhere to go that his boys should leave me there.
“I was inside the gutter for three hours. My people, I saw hell as I was told to also drink from the water and lick the moody black stuff in there. I had no other option than to obey all their instructions and carryout whatever they instructed me.
“So as the most senior officer left, I was still been manhandled like a thief and was getting abuses. They asked who I was and I told them I am a nobody just an indigene of Bonny with the name Justus Jim-Halliday.”
“On the return of the most Senior officer, the interrogations continued and by this time they started beginning to ask which of the cult groupsdo i belong and who are the leaders in the community sponsoring my activities, especially the upkeep of our members.
“But i stood my ground that I am not a cultist. They checked for tattoos on my body and found none. I thank God that i denied allowing tatoo on my body when i was younger, if not, who knows, they must have killed me by now”.
The lawyer, however, in the statement, urged the the River state Governor, Nyesom Wike, the Commander of the various military formations especially the Navy operating in the riverine areas to call their men to order in dealing with civil populice even as they enforce compliance with the lockdown order.