KNOW YOUR RIGHT: Okada rider writes Nigerian army over brutal assault, demands N150million compensation

A commercial motorcyclist popularly known as Okada man yesterday sent a protest letter to the authorities of the Nigerian Army over the alleged June 2019 brutal assault with a sharp razor blade cutting the scalp of his head and deliberately inflicted injuries on his head by a military personnel identified as Lance Corporal, John Efele, attached to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Kolo Creek flow station in Bayelsa state.

According to the letter, written by the counsel to the victim, Barrister Aluzu Augustine, the authorities of the Nigerian army had been “dancing” over the plight of Mr. David Obebadol with the claim that the accused Lance Corporal John Efele is suffering from mental instability.

Aluzu Augustine, Esq, who is also the arch-convener of a non-profit-organization, Patriotism Advancement and Community Orientation Network (PACON),stated in the letter that the assaulted activist has also given the Nigerian Army a one-month ultimatum to compensate him for his rights that were violated in the hands of one Lance Corporal John Efele, a soldier with the 5th Batallion of the Nigeran Army, Elele.

In the letter, Comrade David Obebadol is seeking a compensation of ₦150,000,000.00 among other things. “We are privy to the reply of the Nigerian Army hereinafter referred to as “the Army” to our client through the National Human Rights Commission in Bayelsa State in a letter dated 17th October 2019, with reference number 16/BOE/EI/300/24 in which the Army acknowledged the gross human rights violation of our client on the 13th day of June, 2019 by a soldier under its employ. The army further states that the soldier has a history of mental instability.”

“It is clear from the said letter that the Army is dancing on the plight of our client in their bid to cover up the act of gross unprofessionalism from Lance Corporal John Efele under the blanket statement of “mental instability” with no specification as to the exact type of mental illness he is suffering from. It is based on the above that it is now pertinent to put certain facts in proper perspectives”

“For the records, the 2-page reply letter by the Army heavily spat on the wounds of Our Client by relying on an imaginary mental illness to justify the unkind treatment meted on Our Client and the motor park behavior of Lance Corporal John Efele who has no medical report attached to the said reply letter.It is even worrisome to learn that a person who is alleged to have been exhibiting “persistent irrational behavior” is retained as a serving officer in one of the elitist Armed Forces in West Africa. The Nigerian Army has once again shown the nature of the men we are forced to contend with as citizens on a daily basis.” He stated.
It would be recalled that on the 13th day of June 2019, Mr. David Obebadol was alleged to have been assaulted by Soldiers attached to the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) Kolo Creek flow station.

The Army officer was said to have engaged the service of Mr. David Obebadol (the victim) who after taking him to several destinations of his choice within and outside Otuasega community in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa state brought the officer to the SPDC Kolo Creek flow station.

Upon demand for his legitimate charges for services rendered, the Army officer resorted to violently assaulting the victim with a sharp razor blade cutting the scalp of his head and deliberately inflicted injuries on his head and other vital parts of his body causing him to bleed profusely thereby occasioned grievous bodily harm to his person.

Before cutting the scalp of the victim’s head, the victim was ordered to sit on the bare floor by another Army officer at the SPDC Kolo Creek flow station. They were both alleged to have poured water all over the victim’s body and subjected him (the victim) to severe flogging at the same time with a cable wire.

The victim’s cry and continuous pleading with them to stop attracted passers-by who drew the attention of other Army officers on duty at the SPDC Kolo Creek flow station to the barbaric treatment meted out on the victim by their colleagues.

The sympathetic Army officers on seeing the dying victim quickly rushed him to the Accident and Emergency Unit of Federal Medical Centre (FMC) for immediate resuscitation and treatment. The victim was since admitted at FMC yenagoa where he underwent medical treatment at his own expense.

Mr. David Obebadol had petitioned the Army through the National Human Rights Commission on 4 September, 2019. In a reply to the petition on 17 October 2019, signed by Captain II Nibras, the Army, while confirming the incidence, identified the said Soldier as Lance Corporal John Efele.

The Army, however, denied the involvement of the Soldiers deployed to the SPDC facility at Kolo Creek flow station in the physical abuse.According to the Army, Lance Corporal John Efele suffers from mental instability.

The Army further states that aside from ushing Mr. David Obebadol to the FMC in yenagoa, the operation officers refunded the medical bill paid by the victim and also provided a military vehicle that conveyed the victim home upon his discharge from the hospital.

However, Mr. David Obebadol speaking through his Lawyer deny receiving any financial assistance from the Army.”Our Client vehemently denies receiving any form of financial assistance from the Army to offset his medical bills at the Hospital. In fact, our Client insist he was rushed and dumped at the Hospital by the sympathetic Soldiers. We wonder why the Army is playing hob with such a sensitive matter that has attracted global attention to human rights violations by Military men in Nigeria”.

“We had thought the Army will take advantage of the opportunity offered by our Client to amicably settle the matter but it is obvious from the tonality in the response of the Army that it is concerned more with divorcing itself from liability than restoring Our Client’s pride and dignity among his kinsmen.This is a radical departure from the statement issued by Major Jonah Danjuma, Assistant Director of Army Public Relations 16 Brigade of the Nigerian army on 28th of June, 2019. It is most unfortunate.” He continued.

Aluzu Augustine, Esq., threatens that unless the Army heed to their demands, they will commence legal action,”Our Client has specifically instructed us to commence an action against the Army if they do not heed to our demands within one month.We have written to the Chief of Army Staff that it is Our Client’s wish that the Army make a public apology in 2 national dailies for the inhumane and degrading treatment meted out on him and make a compensational payment of ₦150,000.000.00 only for injuries suffered among other things.” .

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