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Army probes soldiers’ overcrowded detention cell

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The Nigerian Army has promised to investigate conditions at its detention facilities after a video emerged online showing soldiers complaining about overcrowding and poor feeding at the 8 Division Garrison detention facility in Sokoto State.

In the video which surfaced online on Friday, the soldiers lamented the condition of the facility and the way they were being treated.

The commentator in the video claimed that they were over 100 in the facility, and over 40 of them had been awaiting confirmation.

He also lamented their well-being, saying that the food given to them is not enough. “They seize our food and don’t allow us to buy food. Four years and still under detention”, he said.

The Director of Army Public Relations, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu, said in a statement on Monday that the army chief finds the incident “unfortunate” and has ordered an investigation to determine how widespread the problems are.

The statement partly read, “Undoubtedly, the Sokoto barracks detention facility incident is quite unfortunate and an embarrassment to the sound administration efforts of the Chief of Army Staff, to say the least.

“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”.

The Army also said it would not tolerate the way the soldiers expressed their grievances and those involved could face disciplinary action.

The statement added, “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”.

It added that 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”.

The statement added that the soldiers in the video are awaiting confirmation of their sentencing, and it will ensure that all detainees are given a “relatively decent life” until their sentences are confirmed.

It read, “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”.

It was reported in January how a Nigerian soldier stationed in Maiduguri, Borno State, expressed his frustration at being unable to visit his family due to the transport fare that he claimed was higher than his salary.

Watch the video here:

 

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