The Nigerian Army has offered clothing and an undisclosed amount of money as succour to Mr. Chijioke Orakwu, a physically challenged person, assaulted by two military police officers in Onitsha for allegedly wearing army camouflage.
Orakwu was manhandled by two soldiers on Feb. 7, at New Market Road,
Col. Sagir Musa, the Deputy Director, Public Relations, 82 Division of the Nigerian Army, presented the item and cash on Friday.
Musa said that the Army would not condone acts of indiscipline or gross misconduct by any member.
He said that the action of the soldiers did not reflect the attitude of today’s soldiers under the leadership of Lt.-Gen. Tukur Buratai.
“Already, those who perpetrated the act have been arrested and tried, and because of the seriousness of the offence, they have been referred to higher authorities for further action.
“The Nigerian Army is seriously concerned about the incident.
“We want to assure Nigerians, particularly the international community that the Nigerian Army has core values and respect for the rights of people,” Musa said.
The army spokesman urged the public to view the case as an isolated one, assuring that future assault similar to the Onitsha incident would be treated with serious action.
He said the army volunteered to take Orakwu to hospital but that he refused orthodox medication.
Musa added that the doctors, who examined him physically, confirmed him to be physically fit.
The army spokesman emphasised that the items given to Orakwu were not to compensate him but to show that the Nigerian Army cares and respect rights of individuals.
“All we did was not an issue of compensation but to show Nigerians and the international public that the Nigerian Army is disciplined, responsive and responsible, and that we care,” he said.
The Army, he said, had warned against the abuse of military uniforms, saying it remain its policy which the army holds in high esteem.
Also, the Commander, 302 Artillery Regiment, Onitsha, Col. Idongesit Akpan, assured that such incident would not repeat itself.
The representative of the state government, Dr Victoria Chikwelu, expressed satisfaction with the efforts of the Army in handling the case.
He said that Gov. Willie Obiano was not in doubt of what the Army would do as regards the disciplinary measures against the perpetrators.
“Obiano has passion for the physically challenged and that is why he appointed one of them as his Special Assistant and also built three special skill acquisitions centres for their use,” Chikwelu said.
Chikwelu, who is the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, said that the state government had plans to also empower Orakwu at a later date.
Responding, Orakwu, who expressed happiness, commended the army for the kind gesture.