A Nigerian soldier has been compelled by a truck driver and his colleagues to pay him a sum of N100,000 after damaging his tyre. The incident reportedly happened on Thursday at the border town between Benue and Nsukka, Enugu. A soldier had shot the tyre of a petrol tanker because the driver wouldn’t give him bribe.
However, the driver angrily steered his tanker across the road and blocked other road users. In solidarity, the victim’s friends also drove up with their trailers and blocked the entire road, stopping all movements in or out of Enugu.
The driver then went ahead to demand for N120k for his damaged tyre. Soon, an array of policemen arrived to intimidate him, but he stood his ground.
Eventually, the driver reduced his demand to N100k after so much pleading and the soldier made a bank transfer to him.
Recall that there have been reports of human rights abuses by security agencies. This has led to Nigeria receiving low ratings in rights enforcement and respect. What steps are security agencies taking to ensure their men stop such abuses?
A very important feature of every democratic country is the respect for fundamental human rights, particularly by its security agencies. Freedom is another major feature of a democratic state, yet, abuses and rights violation remain a common feature in Nigeria, leading to the country being poorly rated by international organizations.
So worrisome was the matter that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, inaugurated a Presidential Panel under the chairmanship of Justice Biobele Georgewill.
The panel was mandated to: “investigate alleged crimes against humanity by the military in tackling local armed conflicts; review extant rules of engagement applicable to the armed forces of Nigeria and the extent of compliance thereto; investigate alleged acts of violation of international humanitarian and human rights laws;
and investigate matters of conduct and discipline in the armed forces in local conflicts and insurgencies and recommend means of preventing violations of international humanitarian and human rights law in conflict situations” among others.
In spite of the work done by the panel, and recommendations for redress, particularly to avert future re-occurrence, abuses and rights violation, torture, unlawful detention and other ill-treatment by security agencies have continued.
Human rights organization Amnesty International (AI), in its 2017/2018 report released February 22, rated the country low on issues of abuse and rights violation. AI accused Nigerian security forces of carrying out widespread abuses such as extra-judicial killings, arbitrary arrests, mass detention in sub-human facilities, attacks on the media and journalists, violent crackdown on peaceful protesters, and forced evictions, among others.
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