Assaulted Physically challenged Man visits Onitsha Military cantonment, reconciles with Army


For Mr. Chijioke Uraku, a physically
challenged young man from Ikwo, in Ikwo Local
Government Area of Ebonyi State who was
physically assaulted by two military Police
officers along New Market Road Onitsha,
Tuesday, February 6 and Friday, February 10,
2017 will remain evergreen in the memory.

Tuesday was the day he was mercilessly beaten
up by two soldiers who seemed to have lost milk
of human feeling, considering the level of physical
assault they meted on him which attracted
massive condemnation even from the military,
just Friday was the day the military authority
from Enugu and Onitsha Military Cantonment took
him to the Army Barracks to appease him with
cash gifts and cloth as well as recognise him as a
friend of the Onitsha Military Cantonment and the
Nigerian Army.

This was even as the Army High Command
disclosed last Saturday that the two soldiers who
maltreated Uraku had been sentenced to prison
with hard labour for the alleged offence.
While the maltreatment of Uraku lasted, there was
no intervention from any quarters as those who
witnessed the incident remained passive,
cowardly looking on, watching the physical
torture of the crippled victim..

Physical torture of the crippled victim

Uraku was alleged to have been beaten to stupor
for allegedly wearing some clothes which
resembled military uniform. The two soldiers
asked Uraku to pull of the clothes and hand them
over to them but the cripple was said to have
refused to pull off and be naked in the public.
Apart from Aba, Umuahia, Enugu, Owerri, and
even Nnewi, other residents of the South East
geopolitical zone are docile when it comes to
protection of their neighbours who are being
manhandled by people in uniform. South East
Voice, gathered that the two soldiers who beat up
Uraku, popularly known as C.J or Commander of
Edgerton Street, for allegedly wearing Army
Camouflage uniform were arrested when the
beating became viral following the posting of the
incident on the internet.

The two soldiers were later tried in-house in
Onitsha before the case was referred to Enugu for
appropriate sanctions; which according to a
military source could involve a transfer out of
Onitsha among other forms of sundry
punishments. However, on Friday last week,
Uraku was brought to the 302 Artillery Regiment
on the instruction of the General Officer
Commanding 82 Division Nigerian Army, Adamu
Abubakar to be pacified by the Military which
offered medical treatment to him by a doctor of
his choice in or outside Onitsha.

As early as 9.30am, the Deputy Director Army
Public Relations, 82 Division Nigerian Army, Col.
Sagir Musa had arrived Onitsha from Enugu. This
was after a two day search for the assaulted
Uraku by the Commander of 302 Artillery
Regiment, Col Idongesit Akpan and his men to
prepare ground for Col Musa’s visit and
subsequent interface with the assaulted young
man.

A statement by the Deputy Director, Army Public
Relations, 82 Division Nigerian Army Col. Musa
said: “The soldiers were identified through a video
clip while maltreating the man, and we are
condemning their action as gross professional
misconduct.
“The attention of the Army Headquarters, 82
Division, Nigerian Army has been drawn to a
video clip of two military police soldiers who
maltreated a physically challenged person along
New Market Road, Onitsha, for allegedly wearing
Army camouflage uniform.

“The Division has with great concern studied the
video, identified and arrested the perpetrators of
this gross professional misconduct. It is our
position that their action does not reflect the
attitude of today’s Nigeria Army under the
leadership of Lt. Gen. Turkur Yusuf Buratai.
“The action is uncalled for, unwarranted and is
therefore condemnable by all civilized people/
organizations. The soldiers have been tried at the
unit level and referred to higher level for
appropriate punishment commensurable to the
offence committed. The Nigeria Army has always
preached tolerance, respect for others and
peaceful coexistence. The Army of today has
consistently maintained zero tolerance for
indiscipline and human rights violation.

“Whatever human right infraction is seen,
appropriate sanction will be applied to serve as
deterrence to others. This case would not be an
exception.”
The South East Voice was at the Onitsha Military
Cantonment, when Mr. Uraku arrived with his
people, just as Col. Musa arrived from Enugu, and
in their first interaction, Col Musa, and Col. Akpan
appealed to him to be taken to a hospital for
treatment or a doctor be invited into the barracks
to treat him, but he rejected the offers, saying
“since I was born, I have never been to hospital; it
is against my faith. I do not take any medicine.”
All entreaties by the two Army Colonels, for them
to take him to hospital, before any other thing
could be done, were rejected by the victim, who
further said, “As you can see me, I am strong, I
do not have any pains on any part of my body,
am not angry, I am strong and normal, I don’t feel
any pains. Going to hospital is not part of my
nature.”
One noticeable thing about Uraku was that he
looked naturally strong and exuded excessive
strength and stubborness. He preferred to push
his wheel chair and every other thing himself.
While the Commander 302 Artillery Regiment
Onitsha and the Deputy Director Army Public
Relations, 82 Division Nigerian Army Enugu, were
still discussing with the victim on the need to take
him to hospital, which he flatly rejected, the
Commissioner for Women Affair sand Social
Welfare in Anambra State, Mrs. Victoria Chikelu
arrived from Awka on the instruction of Governor
Willie Obiano on a fact finding visit over the
incident.
However, addressing newsmen on the issue
later, Col. Musa said, “you are all aware of what
happened; what happened for the purpose of
clarification on that day was that two military
police me, (soldiers) of 302 Artillery Regiment
here in Onitsha were at the New market Road
Onitsha and they got this gentle man in pairs of
army uniform. “They talked to him and in the
process what we saw on the social media truly
was that he was physically assaulted by the
soldiers, Nigerian Army as a disciplined,
professionally sound and morally sound
organization does not condone indiscipline, does
not or encourage professional misconduct and
above all under the present leadership of the
Nigerian Army, under the command of Lieutenant
General Tukur Buratai, Nigerian Army has no
place for human rights violation.
“Human right violation in the Nigerian Army is
something that the leadership at the highest level
and all levels of the Nigerian Army leadership do
take very, very seriously, the leadership frowns
at it, they do not condone it, they do not
encourage it, and whenever it happens we apply
maximum sanction commensurate to the offense
committed. This case is not going to be an
exception.
Peaceful coexistence
Already those who participated in this act have
been identified and arrested, were tried by the
commanding officer Col I.U. Akpan here by my
left and because of the seriousness of the
offense committed, they were referred to a higher
authority for further disciplinary action.
“What has happened, we feel strongly about it;
the Nigerian Army is fully concerned about it and
we want to make sure that the members of the
public particularly Nigerians and international
community, that it is against our core values,
particularly that of respect for others and
peaceful coexistence.
“This case has violated fundamentally, our most
cherished core value of respect for others. It is
fundamental principle that we maintain respect for
others anywhere we go. Those soldiers, their
attitude sincerely do not reflect the attitude of
contemporary, Nigerian soldiers under the
command of Lieutenant General Buratai. We urge
you to look at this issue as an isolated case,
because in this Onitsha Military Cantonment, we
have about 2000 soldiers specializing in different
backgrounds and of different parental 


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