January 29, 2023

Bayelsa Community at Old Chelsea Hotel, Abuja, allege military invasion, brutality of residents

Bayelsa Community at Old Chelsea Hotel, Abuja, allege military invasion, brutality of residents

**We are not aware – Army Spokesman.

By: Kingsley Omonobi – Abuja

The leadership of Bayelsa Community, Old Chelsea Hotel, Abuja on Tuesday alleged that soldiers invaded and brutalized harmless and law abiding residents of Bayelsa Community leaving in the facility having arrived in vehicles code named ‘Echo 1’.

A statement signed by Owoye Ebikake, Chairman, Bayelsa Community, Old Chelsea Hotel said, the Military personnel who were 8 in number broke into individual rooms in the community, also stationed heavily armed gun trucks in the premises and outside the gate while carrying out the ‘illegal duty’.

“Gentlemen, residents were beaten black and blue with whips, sticks, butt of the gun in the very presence of children while unleashing all manner of cruelties on defenseless civilians. Many were injured.

“The entire community has been traumatized with children watching their parents being brutalized in their very eyes. They did not only stop at raiding the community, they also carted away valuables, phones, laptops, belonging to residents.

“They left with a promise that they will be back to unleash further terror on the residents. We are in a democratic dispensation where citizens and institutions are guided by democratic norms. We demand an immediate investigation into this cruelty of the Nigerian Military against our community and bring the perpetrators to book, no matter whose ox is gored.

“Some of the victims are in very critical condition and now receiving treatment. We have become vulnerable, psychologically tortured and our lives are in danger. With the recent insecurity faced in the Federal Capital Territory, it is absurd that security agents whose responsibility is to protect lives, property and integrity of the Nation are now being used as instrument of violence against its citizens, more worrisome, against armless and law abiding citizens. The matter has been reported to the Central Police station.

Disclosing that Bayelsa state government issued a threat letter to the community dated 9th September, 2022 on the said property, the statement said the community approached FCT High Court for fairness, justice and equity.

“The court issued a restraining order for parties to maintain status quo until the determination of the substantive suit. As law abiding citizens, we equally wrote through our lawyer to notify the offices of the Director-General, Department of State Service, the Inspector-General Police, the FCT Command, Department of State Service, the FCT Command, Nigeria Police Force, the Area Command, Nigeria Police Force, Maitama, the Divisional Police Officer, Central Area Police Station on the court order.

“We condemn in totality the brutalization, dehumanization, harassment and intimidation of Bayelsans living in Old Chelsea by the Nigerian Military under any guise.

“We are therefore calling on the Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen. Farouk Yahaya to call his men to order against this dangerous violation of our Human Rights” they said.

“We want to thank the leadership of Ijaw Youth Council IYC, Abuja Chapter, the entire Ijaw community in Abuja for standing with us in solidarity during these trying times of in our Community. This is a show of love and brotherliness.”

When contacted for response, the Director, Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Onyema Nwachukwu said the Army headquarters was not aware of any such invasion leading to brutalization of harmless citizens.

“I’m not aware of this incident. If however they are truly soldiers as claimed, they (Bayelsa Residents) can approach any of Nigerian Army Human Rights Desks in Abuja and formally make a complaint.”

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