The Nigerian Army (NA) has denied torturing one Christian Ehima to death as claimed by his mother in Edo State.
The army said this on Sunday in a statement signed by its spokesman, Brig. Gen Onyema Nwanchkhu, and made available to journalists in Benin in reaction to a social media post alleging that its personnel in the state tortured a man to death in Igbake.
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He described as misleading the report on social media, saying it respects the sanctity of human life and has zero tolerance for infringement on the rights of the citizenry.
“While we sympathize with the family of Late Christian over this unfortunate incident, it is instructive to put the records in proper perspective, contrary to the misgivings peddled on the social media.
“Incontrovertible evidence indicates that Christian Ehima wandered into a military checkpoint at Wire – Ake in Edo State on the 10 December 2021, without his clothes on, and was halted by soldiers on duty.
He said upon interrogation, Ehima could not say anything meaningful on where he was coming from or heading, adding that his behaviour was rather weird and indicative of one who was obviously under some sort of influence.
“The Guard Commander, who observed his abnormal behaviour immediately requested for his phone in an effort to contact any of his relations, friends or associates.
“Shortly afterwards, a call came through to his phone and the caller identified herself as his mother and a police officer and was invited to pick up her son, who was still very agitated and unstable.
“When she was briefed about her son’s observed abnormal behaviour, she attributes it to influence of alcohol but the soldiers maintained that whatever was responsible for Christian’s behaviour at that time, was way beyond alcoholism.”
Nwanchukwu explained that, on sighting his mother, his behaviour aggravated while some passersby were thereafter mobilized to help her take him to the hospital.
“The incident was recorded both on video and audio, showing the behaviour of Christian Ehima and his mother commending the soldiers for their kind intervention.
“The evidence, including audio recordings of the police officer and her son, are there for all to peruse”, he said.
He said they were surprised that the incident has been falsely reported on social media without recourse to the reality of what transpired during the incident.
Brig. Gen Nwanchkhu called on the public to disregard what he described as misguided information and an attempt to bring the army to disrepute.
A report on social media by Christian’s mother, Ehima Mercy, alleged that her son died as a result of the soldiers’ torture.