The Nigerian Army have been called upon to concentrate on their duty of protecting the territorial integrity of Nigeria, rather than harass civilians.
The call was made by Omoyele Sowore, presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), when he rescued five men from harassment by men of the Nigerian Army along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.
In the viral video which captured the incident on social media, Sowore is seen approaching the scene of the incident after which he said: “My name is Omoyele Sowore, a presidential candidate in the 2019 elections. I saw that Nigerians are being made to lie on the street and I want to find out what happened”.
Explaining the situation, a Lieutenant who is also a priest in the Army and was overseeing the harassment said: “As you can see, that’s our convoy. These idiots where driving behind the vehicle and even when they blew the siren, all of them, these old men, kept following us. We were going out; we are going to pick a big man, and all of them were just charging behind”.
In his response, Sowore said: “I completely understand. You are military officers going to pick someone, so my advice to you is that can you make them sit down because of the dignity of their human person. I am worried about the dignity of their person. My advice to you is that you use the Police”.
Narrating his account of the incident, Sowore said: “We were returning from the Redemption Camp, when we saw grown men being made to lie on the street while being harassed. One had suffered a cut to his arm, so I immediately stopped and asked what was wrong. They said they where going to pick a big man and the men were driving too closely behind them.
“You see this is the problem with our Army. Instead of defending the territorial integrity of Nigeria, they are harassing civilians. When they found out we were recording the incident, they physically attacked our team members, but I stood my ground and they eventually freed the men. Turns out they had seized the identity cards of the men who were OPC members and were already planning to lock them up at a detention facility. It is wrong. The civilian population should be managed by the Police, even if they have committed an offence. Why are people made to lie in the dust for traffic offences? Don’t we have laws?"
He called on Nigerians to always speak up against injustice, confront the situation and record such incidents so as to serve as a deterrent to others.