Victims of soldiers rampage allege lopsided treatment by Borno government

Nigerian soldiers used to illustrate the story.
Nigerian soldiers used to illustrate the story.

The victims allege that soldiers killed about 20 people in September, 2012.

About 56 families in Borno whose houses and property were burnt, allegedly by soldiers in the Joint Task Force, JTF,, have accused Borno State Government of unfairness in its promised compensation.

The property were destroyed in an alleged retaliatory attack by soldiers after a bomb blast in September 2012.

The families who reside in Gwange III street of Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, alleged that angry soldiers killed 20 persons, and burnt over 40 houses and 15 vehicles in reaction to a bomb attack that left some uniformed men dead.

The residents said those the soldiers directed their rage towards on September 16, 2012 (the date of the incident), were innocent civilians, mostly civil servants and a banker.

Speaking to journalists in press conference, Zubairu Adam, who spoke on behalf of the affected residents, acknowledged that the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima, had visited them on October 19, 2012, to sympathize with them over the incident.

He claimed the governor promised to compensate them alongside some residents of Lagos Street Bridge area whose houses and vehicles were also burnt by soldiers on October 8 when another blast targeted at JTF soldiers killed some of the operatives.

He claimed that only victims of the later incident got the palliatives from the government committee.

“But to our general dismay, one year after the incident that had left most of us homeless, financially bankrupt, and bereaved, the state government committee set up to compensate all of us, only chose to pay compensation to victims of Lagos Bridge area up to Kantin-Bakami Bus top whose plight came three weeks after hours, while nothing is being said about our case,” Mr. Adam said.

“We beg Governor Shettima to consider our plight with the eyes of mercy and fulfil his promise of assisting the over 56 families whose lives were adversely affected by the outburst of soldiers. Most of us are in pitiable situations now as we are finding it difficult to make ends meet due to the actions of the soldiers.

“If the residents of Lagos street bridge, whose case came much later than ours, could be compensated and their houses have since been rebuilt, then we felt we too deserve to be compensated. But no body is talking about us after nearly a year now; yet victims of recent military hostility in Baga and Bama are being compensated already,” he added.

Borno officials could not be reached for their reaction because of the GSM network situation in the state.

Allegations of extra-judicial killings and human rights abuses by soldiers was rampant in Borno and other states with some of such detailed by Human Rights Watch in a report.

The military has however always claimed that its soldiers did no wrong.

More soldiers’ deployment has been done in Borno and two other states after President Goodluck Jonathan declared a State of Emergency there.

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