Operation Python Dance II: My encounter with soldiers at a checkpoint – Lawyer tells his story

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Operation Python Dance II: My encounter with soldiers at a checkpoint - Lawyer tells his story
Military checkpoint in South-East

Since the Operation Python Dance II commenced in the South Eastern region (Igboland), there have been reports of inhuman treatments, harassment and brutalization of innocent civilians.

A lawyer, who recently traveled to Ebonyi State has narrated how he encountered the same inhuman treatment by the soldiers deployed to the South East.

According to him; ‘’The militarization of the South-East is already having its sad tale on the people of the region. I travelled to Enugu from Abakaliki in a bus on Thursday (penultimate week). When we got to the military checkpoint close to Ebonyi State University Perm Site, I noticed that so many buses were parked along the roadside by the Nigerian Army officers on duty.

“We joined the line of buses without prompting. I enquired from those we met the reason so many buses were parked like that, stopping passengers from meeting up with their scheduled appointments. So many reasons were offered, prominent among which is that the soldiers wanted to identify those who belonged to IPOB volunteer force or those who were IPOB members. I was stunned by the rough handling of citizens by the soldiers.

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‘’We were made to line up in a single line. One by one, they demanded for either your national identity card or voter’s card. If you didn’t have either of them, you would be asked which LGA you came from and what you did for a living. Failure to produce either of the ID cards or provide what was satisfactory answer to them, they would push you with force and order you to go lie down behind their tent. I was livid with anger before it got to my turn.

‘’I had both my national identity card and voter’s card but I refused to produce any when they requested for it. They asked me what I did for a living and I told them I am a lawyer. They asked for my work ID card and I told them lawyers don’t carry ID cards around. One of the officers glanced at the book I was holding (Freedom of Information Act which also contains the Fundamental Human Rights Enforcement Procedure Rules), he quietly asked the officer questioning me to let our bus go.

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‘’Swiftly, I left them to see the officer I perceived was the leader of the team. Politely, I asked why they were subjecting Ndigbo to this kind of inhumane treatment. He arrogantly told me they were following instructions from above. Every other thing I said infuriated him. He ordered me to leave or he will order his men to deal with me.

“Those I was travelling with were already seated in the bus waiting for me, so I had to join them and we left, leaving behind follow citizens at the mercy of the soldiers,’’ the lawyer said.

Similarly, same incident is currently happening in Aba,  Abia State – Soldiers camped at Ngwa High School are subjecting innocent civilians to inhuman treatment. [Read more: Military Harassment of Innocent Civilians At Osisioma Is Alarming]

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