The ill-fated incident that saw two soldiers torturing a cripple on Tuesday along the New market Road, Osha in Onitsha, Anambra State, have been charged to a military disciplinary court on Thursday.
Report learnt that the soldiers, whose names had yet to be disclosed by the army, had also been discharged from their unit and summoned to the 82 Division, Enugu State.
Also, it was learnt that the victim was billed to meet with the military authorities at the 82 Division on Friday (today).
The Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, who is also the spokesman for the 82 Division, Col. Sagir Musa, confirmed the soldiers’ trial, adding that the victim had been invited.
National dailies had reported on Thursday that a video footage, which went viral, showed the soldiers allegedly dragging and flogging the crippled man for dressing in camouflage.
It was reported that in the video posted by one Prince Ifeanyichukwu Emmanuel on Facebook, one of the soldiers dispossessed the man of his wheelchair and threw it away. The soldier then held the victim by the hand and dragged him on the road as his colleague joined him to flog the man.
The video, which was recorded on Tuesday, also showed the victim begging the soldiers, unsuccessfully, to escape the assault.
The Nigerian Army had, in a statement late on Wednesday, said it had identified and arrested the soldiers.
The Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.Gen. Sani Usman, said, “In line with our zero tolerance for acts of indiscipline and unprofessional conducts, especially in relation to violation of human rights, we wish to state that the soldiers involved have since been identified and apprehended.
“They have also been charged with assault by their Commanding Officer. Similarly, troops have been warned to desist from acts that infringe on human rights and cast serious aspersions on the good image of the Nigerian Army.”
Reports learnt that on Thursday that the soldiers had been summoned to the 82 division headquarters, Enugu.
The division spokesperson, Colonel Musa, said, “The soldiers have been tried at the unit level in Onitsha, and referred to the higher level for appropriate punishment commensurate with the offence committed.
“The victim has also been invited and he will meet with us on Friday. We also have a press conference where the issue will be discussed in detail. Whatever human rights infraction is seen with our men, appropriate sanctions will be applied to serve as deterrence to others. This case will not be an exception.”
Meanwhile, the Joint National Association of Persons with Disabilities in Abuja on Thursday condemned the attack on the victim by soldiers for dressing in camouflage.
A statement issued by the National President of JONAPWD, Ekaete Umoh, said the attack on the crippled man contravened his fundamental human rights and was inimical to the course of the rule of law.
She said, “We detest the treatment and call for proper investigation, prosecution and justice should take its course in this matter.
“We also call for the speedy harmonisation of the disabled persons bills passed by both the Senate and House of Representatives. President Muhammadu Buhari should assent to the bill for it to become law.”