A group of armed soldiers have been caught on camera assaulting two young men in Asaba, Delta State, Nigeria’s South-south.
A video of the incident, which happened on Saturday, was posted on Twitter by Harrison Gwamnishu, a human rights activist.
In the video, one of the assault victims sat helplessly on a tarred road, while three soldiers beat him up.
The soldiers could be heard cocking their guns, even though the young men were unarmed and appeared too weak and frightened to fight or resist them.
Cars drove past the scene of the incident, while passers-by stood at some distance, shouting in protest.
PREMIUM TIMES, Monday, spoke with the victim who identified himself as Godson Obaigbena, a 28-year-old graduate of Sociology, Delta State University, Abraka.
Mr Obaigbena wears dreadlocks. He is into music production, he said.
He said the soldiers – about five of them – assaulted him because his car almost hit another young man who was riding a motorcycle.
Mr Obaigbena said the fault was not his, but that of the other man whom he said was riding recklessly, on top speed.
“I was just about coming down (from the car) to find out if he was okay, some army people started beating me, slapping me.
“They didn’t even allow me to explain, and the bike guy was fine, he was already up. He just stood up and picked his bike,” the young man told PREMIUM TIMES.
“One of the soldiers said to me, ‘I can kill you and nothing will happen’. He said he would throw my corpse away.”
The other victim of the assault is Mr Obaigbena’s brother. He is seen in the video crying and telling the soldiers that his brother (Obaigbena) is a “sickler”, as the soldiers repeatedly hit brother.
Mr Obaigbena said after beating him, the soldiers searched his car and found nothing.
“They searched the bike guy and saw some pills on him, so he was high when he was driving. That was how they left me to go,” he added.
Mr Obaigbena, who sustained bruises from the beating, said he believes the soldiers would have killed him. “I am fortunate to be alive,” he said.
“It is becoming too much, they should put an end to the brutality,” he said.
A spokesperson for the Nigerian army, Sagir Musa, did not respond to calls and a text message asking for his comment.
Human rights abuse by security agencies in Nigeria appeared to have continued unabated, despite recent nationwide protests by young Nigerians who demanded an end to police brutality.
PREMIUM TIMES reported, about a week ago, how an unidentified soldier assaulted a commercial driver and threatened to kill him for overtaking his car on the Abuja-Kaduna road, North-central Nigeria.
A few days ago, some soldiers in Ibadan, Nigeria’s South-west, were caught on camera flogging one woman in public whom they accused of “indecent dressing.”
In Delta State, soldiers last month reportedly forced a medical doctor to swim in the mud for “violating curfew.”
The latest assault incident in Asaba underscores the helplessness of the Nigerian citizens and the need for the Nigerian authorities to proactively tackle the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.
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