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Soldiers torturing innocent citizens, Aladja community alleges, it’s a lie, you are misleading the public – Army spokesperson

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FILE PHOTO: Nigerian soldiers

By Cletus Opukeme, Warri

 

Nigerian Army and Aladja community in Delta state have  sang a discordant tone  as Aladja community has accused soldiers of harassment, intimidation and torture of innocent and harmless citizens deployed to restore peace in their communuty over the aged long boundary adjustment  crisis between  Aladja community and  Ogbe-Ijoh communities in Delta state.

The Aladja community had threatened that if the Harrassment and torture of innocent and law-abiding citizens in their community doe not stop, they would be compelled to engage Army and Police authorities in a legal and media war.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Abuja Brigadier General Onyema Nwanchukwu reacted swiftly on Daily Watch inquiry had described the allegations. as  pack of lies, intended to mislead the public. According to him, ” trroops in Aladja  community and Ogbe-Ijoh community are being professional in their activities to return the crisis communities in Delta state to normalcy and enjoy peace”.

The Aladja community in a statement signed by Comrade Kingsley Kpadamrophe on behalf of Aladja community alleged that soldiers and policemen deployed to restore peace  in Aladja  are maltreating them against the purpose they were deployed for.

The Aladja community said the harrrassment and torture of innocent citizens is not peculiar to the their community alone. They said that same thing is applicable to Ogbe-Ijoh as news of soldiers torture of innocent citizens flew to them as well.

” We are calling on the military and Police authorities to caution their men and advise them to stick to maintaining law and order and not try to make matters worse for the already bemused citizens. Our call is not to withdraw security personnelels, but authorities should caution them to be professional in the decharge of their assignment” The statement said.

The community emphasized that the presence of soldiers in both community is a good security measure, but the soldiers and policemen should stay by the rules of crisis management and not to make life worse for the people already suffering over age-longed crisis of land dispute..

Aladja community thteatened to engage the army and pokice in legal  battle, if further harrasment and torture of innocent citizens happens in their community.

” Any more unruly acts from them will push us to take legal actions against the military and police authorities. And to declare a media war on them” He said.

However, the Nigerian Army (NA)  through its spokesperson Brigadier Onyema Nwanchukwu, Abuja , absolved  soldiers of wrong doing while responding to Daily Watch investiigation who  has described the allegation as mere lies and misleading the public.

The Army authority Abuja said, ” We have been alerted to an allegation of high-handedness, maltreatment and overbearing by troops deployed at Aladja Community in Delta State on 21 November 2021.

”Considering the lack of credibility in the allegation, it is instructive to put the records straight. Contrary to the allegation, a distress call was received by troops, alleging that some unknown persons purported to be natives of Ogbe Ijoh were said to be on a mission to attack the Aladja Community. Troops mobilized and swiftly responded to the distress call. On sighting soldiers, the hoodlums opened fire and the troops responded, and thereafter harboured at Ogbe Ijoh Community.

”In a follow up operation conducted, leaders of the two restive communities were arrested and handed over to the Nigeria Police Force for possible mediation. This yielded positive result, as normalcy was restored to the troubled communities. We therefore, urge members of both communities to sheath their swords and allow peace to reign.

”The NA wishes to reassure the general public, particularly the good people of Delta State, that it remains a professional force that conducts its operations in tandem with global best practice of adhering to the rules of engagement in internal security operations. They are enjoined to continue to support troops to get rid of criminal elements in their domain” the Army spokesman said.

 

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