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Naval officers allegedly torture nursing mother in Anambra

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As HURIDE seeks justice for victim

By Gabriel Chy Alonta

A nursing mother, Esther Obiechina, has narrated how she was tortured by some Naval officers at Uga junction in Onitsha, the commercial nerve of Anambra State over a traffic offence – crossing the express road from the headbridge market side.

According to Obiechina, the Naval personnel forced her to climb the pedestrian bridge at the Uga junction Uga for 30 times, resulting in her eventual passing out last Sunday.

The victim, who spoke to newsmen at her hospital bed where she is currently recuperating after the incident, alleged that the Naval Personnel also confiscated her N1,000 purportedly meant for her transportation fare back to her village in Ogbaru local government area. “I would have also bought a pap for my new baby out of the N1,000”, she added.

Narrating her ordeal in the hands of the officers, she said, “Two Naval personnel  accosted me and asked me to give them five thousand naira (N5, 000) for which I told them that I don’t have. They then asked me to drop my handset and the N1,000 I’m having with them and climb the pedestrian bridge  30 times.

“Unfortunately, I finished the corporal punishment, I could not regain myself again because my entire system was disorganised and I fainted. Infact, I don’t know what was happening to me again. My entire body system started collapsing. In the next few minutes I passed out.

“Even after I had fainted, I heard them when I started regaining consciousness saying that I was only pretending. It was one of them who told them to stop mocking me that I was not pretending. They later returned my hand set without the N1,000”, she decried, adding that, “When I regained consciousness, I demanded for the N1,000 to no avail, as they claimed the officer holding the money had left”.

She recalled that when she got to her office on that fateful day, she fainted again and was now rushed to St. Cyprian Hospital, along Port-Harcourt Road, Fegge, Onitsha, where she is fast recuperating.

Efforts to get the Commanding Officer, Odekpe Naval Post, Navy Commander Sani Abdurayi, failed, and the text message sent to him over the incident was neither responded. 

Meanwhile, the Human Rights Liberty Access and Peace Defenders Foundation (HURIDE) in a statement, called for immediate and total overhaul of the Iyiowa Odekpe Naval Post due to the atrocities against the citizens which they are to protect. The HURIDE Executive Director, Dede Uzor A Uzor, said there were cases of abuse of citizens’ rights by the Naval Personnel at Uga Junction.

Uzor said in the case of lady Obiechina, who is a nursing mother, it was totally wrong and out of the rule of engagement of the military to inflict such harsh corporal punishment on an ordinary civilian, let alone a woman and a nursing mother for that matter. He called on the leadership of NIgerian Navy to fish out the perpetrators of the  heinous rights abuse to refund the N1,000 confiscated from lady Obiechina as well as make them face disciplinary measures for their actions.

“There are glaring incidences of official corruption, extortion, intimidation and harsh human rights abuses by the Naval officers, immediately it’s 6.30pm, they will mount illegal roadblocks, closing down the trunk A Onitsha/Asaba express highway and causing excruciating pain to the motorists. This includes extorting money with impunity. What has a Naval officer got to do with traffic control?”, he queried.

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