A young man who had his dreadlocks shaved off recently by soldiers at Sapele, Delta State, has said his only crime is being a Nigerian.
The aggrieved man said he had gone on a visit to his hometown, Sapele, from Lagos State when he was accosted by the soldiers who harassed, assaulted and brutally shaved off his dreadlocks.
On Monday, he took to his Twitter page @KingsRubies, to demand justice, stating that he had been traumatised by the experience.
He tweeted, "The only crime I ever committed against Nigeria is that I’m her citizen. I see no other wrong. The @NigerianArmy cut off my hair for no reason at all. Is it constitutional?
"This set of military men stopped me at about 21:32 (9.32pm) along Ajogodo Road, Sapele, Delta State. I greeted them and without asking any questions, they asked me to lie on the ground. I asked to know why and the response I got was a wire to my butt. I complied and received another whipping.
These set of military men stopped me at about 21:32 along Ajogodo road, Sapele, Delta state. I greeted them and without asking any questions, they asked me to lie on the ground. I asked to know why & the response I got was a wire to my butt. I complied & received another whipping pic.twitter.com/QcaaCqCqDE— Winter Is Here âï¸âï¸ (@KingsRubies) January 4, 2021
"And when I asked why I was being treated that way, they asked me to park properly and go to the officer with the scissors. In my mind, what is my offence. I went to him and spoke to him politely, asking what I did wrong. And he told me that this is a new Sapele so we must all comply.
"Like seriously? I informed him that I’m a footballer and that I came to town to celebrate New Year with my family. And that I was even in Sapele to see my mum. All words fell on deaf hears.
“I want the president @MBuhari to tell Nigerians what the job of the army is because I don’t know.
"I have not been able to sleep well since Saturday night because scenes from the event keep playing on my mind. I’m traumatised. I still don’t know if we are really free under a government that claims to practise democracy. I just hope justice will be served. I hate oppression."
The development comes less than two months after some soldiers in Oyo State were videoed shaving off the hair of a young man and harassing a young woman.
The soldiers were caught on camera flogging the woman in Beere, Ibadan for what they termed ‘indecent dressing’.
VIDEO: @HQNigerianArmy Personnel In Gross Violation Of Human Rights, Cut Residentsâ Hair, Beat Up Woman For Indecent Dressing In Ibadan#EndMilitaryBrutality— Sahara Reporters (@SaharaReporters) November 2, 2020
WATCH FULL VIDEO: https://t.co/NcO5UbSBrA pic.twitter.com/64y56xz7hx
The young man said he was on a motorcycle with his friends around the Beere area in Ibadan when he was stopped by soldiers who said they wanted to have a discussion with them.
The young man said he was wondering what he could have done wrong as he was not in possession of any weapon.
He said, "And I am not a fraudster. They said I should take off my cap and when I did, they flogged me and asked me to kneel down. When I asked what my crime was, the soldier ordered me to sit down and then brought out a pair of scissors from his pocket. The funny thing was that they collected money from us for the haircut," he had said in November last year.
Similarly, in December, the Nigerian Army was criticised on the social media after a soldier harassed a woman for dressing “indecently” at Oju-Ore, Sango-Ota area of Ogun State.
A viral video showed the soldier pulling at the lady’s braided hair, yanking on her blouse and trying to take off her bra.
The lady, who wore a pair of shorts and white knitted cover-up, was walking along the road when the soldier hurriedly came down from a commercial bus and assaulted her for not dressing appropriately to his standard.
He slapped the lady repeatedly and pulled at her braided long hair when she tried to flee.
The recent assaults on Nigerians by soldiers have been attracting public criticism and many Nigerians have called on the Army authorities to stop the gross abuse of human rights by soldiers, who have largely failed to secure the country from banditry and terrorism.