In a now-viral video, Army Officer Lt. Chika Viola Anele is seen washing Ezeiruaku Ifenyinwa Fidelia, a member of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), with an unknown chemical before dehumanizing her and hitting her with a bowl.
After a disagreement between the youth corps member and the officer, the former was asked to kneel. The recent graduate was soon drenched in what looked to be a brownish, dirty substance.
Agba Jalingo, a journalist and activist who originally shared a video of the incident with this writer, says it happened in Calabar, the capital of Cross River State.
The army has since verified that the incident took place at Calabar’s 13 Brigade, and that the officer has been “recognized and sanctioned.”
For the record, the heinous act occurred in Calabar’s 13 Brigade. The Brigade Commander launched an investigation right away, and the officer involved was identified and sanctioned in the meantime, and would be subjected to regimental orders (trial) in accordance with the Armed Forces Act’s current requirements.
“The response that the Brigade attempted to conceal was thus misleading, as the Nigerian army remains a professional force with zero tolerance for indiscipline amongst its members,” ays Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, Director, Army Public Relations.
For the records, the ugly incident happened in 13 Brigade, Calabar. The Brigade Commander immediately instituted an investigation and the officer involved has been identified and sanctioned on the interim and would be made to undergo regimental orders (trial) in line with the extant provisions of the Armed Forces Act.
“The submission that the Brigade attempted covering up was therefore misleading, as the Nigerian army remains a professional force that has zero tolerance for indiscipline amongst its personnel,” a statement from Director, Army Public Relations, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, reads.
The army adds that: “This act is not only condemnable, but unprofessional and against established precepts of discipline in the Nigerian army.
“The Nigerian army has remained undoubtedly the pride of the nation, a symbol of national unity that has consistently being in the vanguard of respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.
“It is against this premise that the Nigerian army condemns this unimaginable level of infraction by a personnel in its ranks.”
The NYSC was hell-bent on pushing Youth Corps Fidelia out of Calabar, according to Jalingo, who writes for CrossRiverWatch.
She has been given transportation to leave town by road immediately for “safety reasons,” Jalingo said.
Jalingo also disclosed that “Fidelia has told CrossRiverWatch that NYSC authorities, who are also soldiers, are holding her hostage now in Calabar and insisting they cannot leave her unless she is ready to proceed to a park and leave for Lagos, against her will. Her phone has been seized too.”
The Nigerian army has repeatedly been criticized at home and abroad for flagrant displays of brute, disproportionate force and human rights violations in dealings with the civilian populace.