Sunday Amari, a 25-year old man brutally beaten by several Nigerian Army cadets in Abuja for complimenting a female army cadet, has given SaharaReporters a full account of his ordeal. SaharaReporters first released the video of the gruesome beating of the man, and the video quickly went viral. In the video, a female cadet from the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) in Kaduna is seen slapping, smacking and kicking the victim, with other female and male cadets soon joining her to brutalize Mr. Amari.
In an interview today, Mr. Amari told SaharaReporters that the assault took place on December 31, 2014 at the Jabi Lake Park in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, where he serves as a parks and recreation officer. His account contradicts a claim by the Nigerian Defense Academy that the attack happened in Lagos. Mr. Amari stated that the cadets attacked and nearly killed him while he was at his duty post.
He disclosed that he was not the original victim of the violent cadets, who included two females and seven males. According to him, the cadets’ first victim was another man seen at the end of the video. He revealed that the cadets had brutalized the first victim to the extent that the man may have suffered serious brain or nerve damage.
Mr. Amari, who is fondly called “Sunny,” said the unruly cadets set upon him for fear that he might report their atrocities. He said he was carrying out his duty of moving around the park to ensure that everything was in order when he saw the nine cadets around 4 p.m. beating up a civilian. He said he walked towards the cadets and their victim out of curiosity.
According to him, the cadets then beckoned on him and asked why he was looking at them. Before he could speak, they descended on him and gave him a brutal beating even as he pleaded with them that he was a recreation officer at the park. He revealed that at least five of the cadets participated in beating him until he passed out. He said he was left for dead, adding that a kind stranger took pity on him and conveyed him to the hospital where he spent a week recuperating from his serious injuries.
Mr. Amari, who hails from Opoko local government area of Benue State, said he had reported the assault to the cadets’ director, a retired military officer, who told him nothing could be done since his attackers were military cadets.
The Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) in Kaduna has issued a series of tweets claiming that the assault happened in Lagos while the cadets were on break, adding that the affected cadets would be punished. The NDA did not respond to emails from SaharaReporters seeking information on the identities of the cadets who took part in the horrifying beating of Mr. Amari.