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Army distances troops from youth’s death in Edo

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

The Nigerian Army (NA) has distanced its personnel from the death of one Christian Ehima that was said to have been allegedly tortured to death by the military in Edo State.

It said that the only contact between its personnel and the deceased was when the late Christian was accosted by the officers stationed at a military checkpoint on Wire–Ake after he was discovered to be walking half-naked on the road.

The clarification was made on Saturday by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, who claimed that reports being circulated on social media were complete falsehood.

Nwachukwu stressed that the military officers have the utmost respect for the sanctity of human life and zero tolerance for infringement on the rights of the citizenry.

The statement reads: “While the Army sympathizes with the family of Late Christian over this unfortunate incident, it is instructive to put the records in proper perspective, contrary to the misgivings peddled on social media.

“Incontrovertible evidence indicates that Christian Ehima wandered into a military checkpoint at Wire – Ake in Edo state on 10 December 2021, without his clothes on, and was halted by soldiers on duty. He was interrogated but could not say anything meaningful about where he was coming from or heading .

“His behaviour was rather weird and indicative of one who was obviously under some sort of influence. The Guard Commander, who observed his abnormal behavior immediately requested for his phone in an effort to contact any of his relations, friends, or associates.

“Shortly afterward, a call came through to his phone and the caller identified herself as his mother. The soldier invited her to pick up her son, who was still very agitated and unstable.

“Subsequently, the woman arrived at the scene and identified herself as his mother and a police officer. She was briefed about her son’s observed abnormal behaviour. In her conversation with the soldiers, she attributed her son’s weird behaviour to the influence of alcohol.

“The soldiers, however, maintained, that whatever was responsible for Christian’s behaviour at that time, was way beyond alcoholism. On sighting his mother his behavior aggravated. Thereafter, some passersby were mobilized to help her take him to the hospital.

“It is also important to state that the incident was recorded both on video and audio, showing the behaviour of Christian Ehima and his mother commending the soldiers for their kind intervention. The evidence, including audio recordings of the police officer and her son, are attached.

“Surprisingly, this unfortunate incident has been falsely reported in social media without recourse to the reality of what transpired on the said date.

“The general public are urged to disregard this misguided information, as it is clearly manipulative and evidently an attempt to bring disrepute to the Nigerian Army”.

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