May 11, 2024

Army chief, Lagbaja orders investigation into viral video of overcrowded soldiers’ cells, poor feeding

Army Chief Lagbaja orders investigation over viral video of overcrowded soldiers’ cells, poor feeding


By Kingsley Omonobi

The Army Headquarters on Saturday said it has ordered investigations into allegations of overcrowded cells in its barracks and poor feeding of detained personnel following a viral video showing some detained soldiers protesting.

A statement by Major Gen Onyema Nwachukwu, Director of Army Public Relations, titled, “Army’s Response to Viral Audio Visual Footage of Soldiers Protesting Overcrowded Cells, Poor Feeding” made this known.

It reads, “The Army headquarters has taken note of a report and audiovisual recording circulating on social media produced by some of its personnel held in custody at the 8 Division Garrison detention facility.

“Undoubtedly, the Sokoto barracks detention facility incident is quite unfortunate and an embarrassment to the sound administration efforts of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), to say the least, and in line with his leadership style.

“The COAS has instituted an appropriate investigation into the incident to determine whether it is an isolated or widespread situation in similar detention facilities. 

“While the service regrets and has gleaned some lessons from the incident, it will, however, not condone the manner the inmates expressed their purported grievance. 

“Mutiny and conduct prejudicial to service order are grievous misconducts, and this very incident epitomises such.

“As such, as Army, on the one side, goes ahead to implement the COAS directive to look into the state of all NA detention facilities, as detainees’ lives also matter, the Service shall not shy away from appropriately sanctioning the soldiers involved in the unruly behaviour in its Sokoto detention facility for failing to exhaust all available options to channel their complaints to the appropriate authorities.

“And if it was discovered they did and nothing was done, necessary administrative actions will be taken against anyone found to have failed to discharge his/her duties effectively.

“While the Service is mindful of its subjective oversight engagements by statutory bodies, it remains primarily a responsible, self-regulating professional body. 

“As such, the Service remains committed to ensuring that everyone, even those found guilty of aiding terrorists, kidnappers, and bandits, and are awaiting confirmation of their sentencing, as it has been discovered in the Sokoto case is accorded a relatively decent life until their judgment is confirmed and executed. 

“This commitment underscores the NA’s dedication to upholding professional standards and maintaining a just and fair system.

“The NA appreciates all Nigerians for their concern and support as well as pledge to remain focused on its drive to defeating security challenges facing the nation in conjunction with sister services and other security agencies.”