The Ebonyi State government says it has taken steps to rehabilitate a physically-challenged man who was brutally assaulted by soldiers in Onitsha, Anambra State, for wearing military uniform.
Chijioke Oratu, crippled in both legs, was viciously beaten and kicked by two armed soldiers after being dragged off his wheel chair, as shocked onlookers stood by helplessly.
The video of the attack, apparently captured by a bystander, went viral on social media, sparking outrage.
The Nigerian Army announced on Friday that the assailants had been identified and arrested.
Spokesperson Sani Usman, a Brigadier General, said in a statement the culprits, Bature Samuel and Abdulazeez Usman, who were both corporals, had been demoted to privates and imprisoned for 21 days with hard labour.
They are to also forfeit their pay for the 21 days.
The Ebonyi government said the victim, Mr. Oratu, a native of state, would be given medical attention and rehabilitated.
A statement by Secretary to Ebonyi State Government, Bernard Odoh, said the attack was “regrettable”.
“Two errant soldiers, acting outside orders, evidently took laws and liberty into their hands and assaulted the said Mr. Oratu on the pretext that he was dressed in military fatigues,” the statement said.
The statement said the government was “deeply dismayed and disappointed by such reprehensible and needless physical and psychological humiliation of a hapless citizen and regrets the trauma caused his family and government of Ebonyi state and onlookers in a society that he has laboured to clear of such inhumanities and violence.”
“The state government has contacted the victim with a view to rehabilitating him in line with the governor’s policy to evacuate Ebonyians hawking and engaging in less dignifying businesses across the country,” it said.
The governor, according to the statement, has directed that immediate medical attention and social welfare be provided for Mr. Oratu.
He also directed that the welfare package of empowerment rolled out by the state government be extended to him.