Brutalized lawyers by Army
By Joe Odje
WARRI – A Warri based human rights lawyer, Mr. Oghenejabor Ikimi Esq has petitioned the Nigerian Army before the
National Human Rights Commission in Abuja over unlawful wounding, assault, brutality, torture, inhuman treatment meted out on two legal practitioners, U. E. Ogbonnanya and Kosie Emmanuel by Gabon .A, Oyewunmi .A, and Basir S of 222 Battalion.
Ikimi’s petition dated 15th May, 2019 to the Commission was obtained by the Dune Newspapers in Warri.
He alleged that the brutalisation of the lawyers was at the instance of one Engr. Okiemute of Kich Global Services.
According to the letter, “We have been briefed and our professional services retained by BARRISTER U. E. OGBONNAYA and MR. KOSIE EMMANUEL, both hereinafter referred to as OUR CLIENTS and it is on their firm, succinct and unequivocal instructions we write you on the above subject thus:
“It is our brief that our clients are Legal Adviser/ members of the LIVING FAITH CHURCH (WINNERS CHAPEL), Otor-Udu Town in the Udu Local Government Area of Delta State.
“It is also our brief that on the 5th day May, 2019 the Iwhrekan Community in Ughelli South Local Government of Delta State led by her Central Executive Chairman approached the Pastor-in-charge of the Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel), Otor-Udu, Pastor Emmanuel Okoli intimating him of an access road being constructed from Iwhrekan Community enroute the aforesaid Church Land at Otor-Udu Town in Udu Local Government Area of Delta State.
“It is our brief that the said Pastor-in-charge and the Church Board members advised the Iwhrekan, Community Executives to put a stop to the above project and put up an application letter on the above subject addressed to the Church for onward transmission to the National Headquarters in Otta, Ogun State for approval as they alone cannot release the Church Land for an access road without the consent of the National Headquarters.”
The petition further added, “It is our further brief that on the 9th day of May, 2019 the contractor of the aforesaid project, Engineer Okiemute trading under the name and style of Kich Global Services stormed the premises of the Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel), Otor-Udu at about 10:00am in company of three armed soldiers threatening to continue with the said construction work on Saturday, the 11th day of May, 2019.
“It is also our brief that owing to the above threat, the Pastor-in-charge of the Living Faith Church (Winners Chapel), Otor-Udu fixed a meeting of the Church Board for the 11th day of May, 2019 at 10:00am to discuss the above issue.
“It is our brief that while the above meeting of Pastors, Elders, Deacons and Church Leaders was in progress at about 10:30am, Engineer Okiemute in company of three armed soldiers in the persons of Army Private GABON A., OYEWUNMI A., and BASIR S. stormed the said meeting and assaulted, beat, brutalised and tortured the Pastors and Church Leaders there present, including our clients with sticks, boots and butt of their guns and in the process our clients and others sustained several degrees of injuries, with the said soldiers shouting at the top of their voices that they have the instruction of their Commanding Officer to shoot and kill anybody, and nothing would happen.
“The said meeting came to an abrupt end and thereby desecrating the Church contrary to the provisions of the criminal code and good morals.
“It is our brief that our clients and others immediately lodged a complaint at the Nigerian Police Station, Ovwian same day where their complaint was incidented and the photographs of their injuries taken.
“Furthermore, our clients also formally lodged a complaint with the Commanding Officer of the 222 Battalion of the Nigerian Army stationed at Agbarha-Otor, Delta State., same day but same has been to no avail as the said Commanding Officer in the person of Major M. A. Yakubu has refused to discipline the said soldiers till date as he has resorted to handing same with levity, hence this petition to your Commission.
“It is in the light of the foregoing, that our clients have instructed us to write the above complaint to your Commission, in a bid to carrying out a proper investigation into the above complaint as justice delay is justice denied. We attach a photograph of the encroachment and the said assault on our clients by the said Soldiers for your perusal and action.”