Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi State, has condemned the brutal attack on a physically challenged citizen-Chijioke Uraku by two soldiers for wearing military camouflage.
Governor Umahi demanded that the two officers should be sacked instead of being punished by demotion and imprisonment for 21 days by military authorities. However, the governor commended the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai and the GOC, 82 Division Enugu for their quick response.
Uraku who hails from Itemu Amagu in Ikwo Local Council of Ebonyi state was brutalized last week at Onitsha, Anambra State for wearing camouflage shorts. Watch the video below:
While receiving Uraku on Tuesday, at the government house, Abakaliki, Governor Umahi donated the sum of N500,000 to Uraku for his treatment and directed his Special Adviser on Religion and Welfare, Rev. Fr. Abraham Nwali, to take custody of the physically-challenged man and see ways by which government could rehabilitate him.
Umahi also commended the governor of Anambra State, Willie Obiano, who he said had sought to rehabilitate Chijioke Uraku, before Ebonyi State government sent for him as an indigene of the state. Describing the soldiers’ actions as ‘dehumanizing and terrible,’ the governor said;
“This young man’s encounter with the army was very dehumanizing. The behaviour of the two soldiers was so terrible. They behaved as if they have no fear of God in their hearts.
“I’m sure many of you did not watch that video but for those who watched it, even if he is not our brother and he is a human being, you must feel the way we are feeling. I suggest that those two soldiers be sacked and prosecuted.
“I want to thank the Governor of Anambra State for his quick intervention in this matter. I was very happy when he reacted immediately and rehabilitated the young man. I also want to commend the Chief of Army Staff for the disciplinary action so far taken against those two soldiers. I thank the people of Anambra and Ebonyi who followed up on this matter.
“But we are going to take a picture of him (Oraku) and send to the COAS to demand the sacking and prosecution of those soldiers who carried such unprofessional act.
“I believe that the army has to be disciplined in their conduct. We must insist that discipline is maintained in our society. If enough punishment is not meted on those two soldiers, they would still carry out the same act.”
In the same vein, the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) has in strong terms, condemned the assault on Uraku.
The group noted that every citizen of the country is governed by the rule of law and entitled to respect and dignity as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Article 15 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which provides for “freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.”
In a statement, CCD’s Executive Director, David O. Anyaele, described the act as “inhumane and barbaric”. The group further demanded that the Minister of Defense and the Chief of Army Staff not only prosecute the cruel behaviour of its officers but also tender a public apology to the entire disability community for the action.