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Army spits fire as soldiers detained over protest break guard room

Authorities of the Nigerian Army have launched a probe into how some soldiers kept in guard rooms (detention) for various offences broke the facility located…

Authorities of the Nigerian Army have launched a probe into how some soldiers kept in guard rooms (detention) for various offences broke the facility located at the 8 Division Garrison, Sokoto.

It also said it would go ahead to implement the directive of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt.-Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, to look into the state of all Nigerian Army detention facilities, saying the detainees’ lives matter.

Daily Trust had reported how a soldier identified as Lance Corporal Charles Ekefure with 17NA/76/1660 was reportedly shot following complaints by some detained soldiers who broke out of their cells (guard rooms) in Sokoto State.

The incident, which occurred on Thursday led to the detention of about 100 soldiers, with 10 detained in each cell – the development that led them to clamour for better food and improved living conditions.

Reacting to the development on Saturday, the spokesman of Nigerian Army, Onyema Nwachukwu, said the service shall not shy away from appropriately sanctioning the soldiers involved in what he described as “unruly behaviour” in its Sokoto detention facility.

He said, “The Army Headquarters has taken note of a report and audiovisual recording circulating on social media produced by some of its personnel held in custody at the 8 Division Garrison detention facility.

“Undoubtedly, the Sokoto barracks detention facility incident is quite unfortunate and an embarrassment to the sound administration efforts of the Chief of Army Staff, to say the least, and in line with his leadership style, the COAS has instituted an appropriate investigation into the incident to determine whether it is an isolated or widespread situation in similar detention facilities.

“While the service regrets and has gleaned some lessons from the incident, it will however not condone the manner the inmates expressed their purported grievance. Mutiny and conduct prejudicial to service order are grievous misconducts, and this very incident epitomises such.”

Nwachukwu, a Major-General, said they would be sanctioned for failing to exhaust all available options to channel their complaints to the appropriate authorities.

He added that if it was discovered they did and nothing was done, necessary administrative actions will be taken against anyone found to have failed to discharge his or her duties effectively.

Nwachukwu said, “As such, as Army, on the one side, goes ahead to implement the COAS directive to look into the state of all NA detention facilities, as detainees’ lives also matter, the Service shall not shy away from appropriately sanctioning the soldiers involved in the unruly behaviour in its Sokoto detention facility for failing to exhaust all available options to channel their complaints to the appropriate authorities and if it was discovered they did and nothing was done, necessary administrative actions will be taken against anyone found to have failed to discharge his/her duties effectively.

“While the Service is mindful of its subjective oversight engagements by statutory bodies, it remains primarily a responsible, self-regulating professional body.

“As such, the Service remains committed to ensuring that everyone, even those found guilty of aiding terrorists, kidnappers, and bandits, and are awaiting confirmation of their sentencing, as it has been discovered in the Sokoto case is accorded a relatively decent life until their judgment is confirmed and executed.

“This commitment underscores the NA’s dedication to upholding professional standards and maintaining a just and fair system. The NA appreciates all Nigerians for their concern and support as well as pledge to remain focused on its drive to defeating security challenges facing the nation in conjunction with sister services and other security agencies.”

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