The Nigerian Army has demoted two soldiers, Cpl. Bature Samuel and Cpl. Abdulazeez Usman of 82 Provost Company in Onitsha, Anambra, to Private for manhandling a physically challenged Nigerian, Chijioke Orakwu.
The Nigerian Army spokesman, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Friday.
Usman said the demoted soldiers on Feb. 7, maltreated a physically challenged person, Mr Chijioke Orakwu, on the street of Onitsha, Anambra, for allegedly wearing Army camouflage uniform,
Usman said they were arrested, summarily tried on two-count charge and found guilty.
“Consequently, both have been sentenced to reduction in rank from Corporal to Private Soldiers and 21 days imprisonment with Hard Labour, respectively.
“It includes forfeiture of 21 days pay to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Army has also reached out to the victim of their unjustifiable assault, Mr Chijioke Uraku (alias CJ), as widely reported by the media.
“We wish to reiterate our avowed determination to ensure that troops conduct themselves in the most orderly and professional manner at all times.
“Any act of indiscipline would not be tolerated,” he said.
Earlier on Friday, the Nigerian Army offered clothing and an undisclosed amount of money as succour to Mr Chijioke Orakwu, a physically challenged person, assaulted by two military police officers in Onitsha for allegedly wearing army camouflage.
Orakwu was manhandled by two soldiers on Feb. 7, at New Market Road,
Col. Sagir Musa, the Deputy Director, Public Relations, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, presented the item and cash on Friday. The video went viral, with the military authorities promptly arresting the culprits.
Musa said that the Army would not condone acts of indiscipline or gross misconduct by any member.
He said that the action of the soldiers did not reflect the attitude of today’s soldiers under the leadership of Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
“Already, those who perpetrated the act have been arrested and tried, and because of the seriousness of the offence, they have been referred to higher authorities for further action.
“The Nigerian Army is seriously concerned about the incident.
“We want to assure Nigerians, particularly the international community that the Nigerian Army has core values and respect for the rights of people,” Musa said.
The army spokesman urged the public to view the case as an isolated one, assuring that future assault similar to the Onitsha incident would be treated with serious action.
He said the army volunteered to take Orakwu to hospital but that he refused orthodox medication.
Musa added that the doctors, who examined him physically, confirmed him to be physically fit.
The army spokesman emphasised that the items given to Orakwu were not to compensate him but to show that the Nigerian Army cares and respect rights of individuals.
“All we did was not an issue of compensation but to show Nigerians and the international public that the Nigerian Army is disciplined, responsive and responsible, and that we care,” he said.