Monday, October 5, 2015

Controversy over army shooting in Benin


An Army Captain leading other soldiers has reportedly brutalised and shot one Daniel Owie in Benin, the Edo State capital.
In a petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Solomon Arase, the victim appealed for an investigation into what he alleges was a murder attempt on his life, and a breach of his fundamental human rights by a group of soldiers led by the yet to be identified Captain.

In a petition forwarded by his counsel, Mr. Benjamin Iluobe, Owie wants the Inspector-General to direct the Edo State Commissioner of Police Mr. Chris Ezike, to thoroughly investigate the abuse of power by the army Captain and his fellow soldiers.

Mr. Owie who is currently receiving treatment at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), and is chained to his bed by the said Captain, who is said to have detailed two soldiers to watch over him, said on 3rd of October 2015 at about 8 pm, he met a vehicle that blocked Ihama Road, thereafter walking to the car to see if he could assist the owners to push the vehicle off the road.

Owie said that the occupants of the vehicle ordered him to go back to his car, adding that the manner they spoke to him led to an exchange of words which made the men to gang up on him and beat him.

“Our client told us further that he was surprised that one of them introduced himself as a Captain in the Army and he further identified himself by brandishing his service pistol.“
“After the beating, the said Captain called his military boys who came in a Hilux pick-up van and without questions, and after he had identified himself, started to beat him again with fists and gun butt.
“He further said he was shot on his leg on the in instruction of the said Captain. He also said that there are bruises all over his body inflicted by the military men called by the Captain.”

Owie alleged in the petition that after shooting him, the soldiers took him to their base hospital along Airport Road, Benin, where they were told by medical doctors on duty that they will not admit him on grounds that they (the military men) were not consistent in their statement as to how he was shot.

He said he was later taken to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital where he was admitted.

He also alleged that his KIA SUV, two handsets, a wrist watch and an eye glass were taken away from him by the Captain and his posse.

“As if on after thought, at about 10 am on Sunday, the 4th of October 2015, the said Captain led other military officers to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital to handcuff him to his bed and detailed two military men to watch over him. They alleged that he was shot because he wanted to snatch their car from them,” the petition said. ‪

But in his reaction, a spokesman of the 4 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Benin, Capt. Joseph Unuakhalu, said Owie was a member of a robbery gang that robbed an army officer along Ihama Road on the day in question and was arrested by a personnel of the Nigerian Airforce.

The Army statement reads:

“At about 10:30pm on 3 October 2015, troops of 4 Brigade Garrison responding to a distress call, rescued an army officer who was attacked by suspected armed robbers at Ihama Junction along Airport Road, Benin City.
“During the attack the officers’ index finger was cut off by the suspected robbers.
“Earlier the gang robbed two policemen from Lagos command who came [to Benin to attend] their colleagues’ wedding. Prior to the troops arrival, personnel of the Nigerian Airforce close to the scene responded and arrested one of the suspected robbers, Mr. Daniel Owie, while others ran away abandoning a Kia Sportage Jeep with Reg No EDO BEN 190 BR.
“He was handed over to our troops on arrival. However, the suspect attempted to escape and was shot on his left leg. Suspect is currently receiving treatment at UBTH while investigations is ongoing.”

(Tony Ozauzo, DAILY SUN)

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