•Mother cries for justice
•No formal complaint by victim —Lt Commander Tope, Media Officer, CNC
By Emem Idio
YENAGOA— FRIDAY, March 17, was like any other day for the family of Mrs. Gloria Ekpe and her 22-year-old son, Alexander Ebipadou, both residing at 15 Custom Road, Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State. On that day, the mother being a staff of the State Pensions Board and son, a temporary staff of the Bayelsa State Board of Internal Revenue went to their offices, oblivious of a squabble between a naval officer and a young man in their street while they were away.
Home after work, Alexander had gone to a nearby store out to buy soft drink when he was reportedly seized by nine men, including a lady, all dressed in military camouflage apparently on a retaliation mission. Without any clue, he walked into the uniform men, who were pounding anyone in sight and they descended on him.
What offence has my son committed— Mother
While the pummeling of Alexander ensued, a neigbour quickly ran to alert mother, who was in the kitchen preparing diner. With only a wrapper, Mrs. Ekpe raced to the scene shouting and wailing, but it was the pitiable sight of her tortured son that provoked her to question the act after identifying herself as the mother. “What offence has he committed, please do not kill my only son,” she screamed.
Currently, Alexander, abandoned after the assault by the power-drunk naval officials was rushed to a government-owned hospital in the city. Her mother, Mrs. Ekpe, who has already petitioned the Central Naval Command, CNC, Nigerian Navy, Yenagoa, says she wants redress on the matter, vowing that she will not relent until justice is done.
They would’ve killed him
In a chat with NDV in Yenagoa, Mrs. Ekpe, said: “If not for my intervention, I would have lost my only child for no offence committed. I want justice in this matter, and how can my innocent child suffer for an offence he did not commit? The incessant brutalization of harmless civilians by men in uniform should stop.
“It was later that I heard from neighbours that there was a fight between one of the naval officers by name, S.M Adamu, A.P, and a boy in my street in the morning hours that we had gone to work, and he reinforced with his naval friends and came back in the evening to beat up any young boy they saw on the street. Unfortunately, my son became one of their victims; I was told that the said boy does not even reside in Custom Street. I am using this medium to demand justice on this matter. How can my innocent child suffer for an offence he did not commit? The incessant brutalization of harmless civilians by men in uniform must stop,” she fumed.
Assault led by Adamu, nine others: In the petition by the family lawyer, Jimoh Gbadamosi, the solicitor asserted: “On March 17, our client being a civil servant with the Bayelsa State Government Board of Internal Revenue returned from work around 4:30 pm, came out of his house around 7:30 pm in order to buy a bottle of sprite to take drugs for his ailment, along his street, Number 15 Custom Road, Biogbolo, Yenagoa Byaelsa state. That suddenly, he saw S.M Adamu and about nine other officers of the Nigerian Navy in their camouflage uniforms advancing towards him, looking very aggressive. Before he could ask what he did to them, they attacked and kicked our client till he fell on the ground. “Seized his mobile phone and started beating him with belts, planks horse whip and fist blows.”
“It was a neighbour that ran to call our client’s mother, Mrs. Gloria Ekpe, who with only wrapper on her body got to the scene having seen the condition of her son, in a responsible manner, approached S.M. Adamu having identified herself as the victim’s mother, asked what her son has done to the naval officers, but instead of explanation and answer to the question, they threatened to beat her together with her son,” he said.
The lawyer asserted: “Our client was rushed to the Diette Koki Government Hospital, Yenagoa, where he was admitted and diagnosed to have suffered various categories of injuries, which included but not limited to blunt ocular trauma with involvement with the orbit and there is the possibility of head and internal injuries by a medical doctor, and our client is still undergoing medical treatment and examination at the said hospital.”
No complaint yet
Contacted, the Media Officer of the CNC, Yenagoa, Lt Commander Tope, said the command was not aware of the incident and urged anyone who has been battered by officers of the command to come out and lay formal complaint at the Command headquarters.
His words: “We are not aware of this development the only thing I will advise is let her come to the Command headquarter and make formal complaint with the relevant authorities, then we will thrash out the issue.
“Maybe they are not our men, like in these days, anybody can put on a uniform in the name of any security outfit to perpetrate evil, encourage him to come forward so that we investigate.”