25 January 2013

Nigeria: Rights Commission, Group Laud Soldiers' Dismissal Over Rape

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the Global Association of Female Attorneys (GAFA) have commended the Nigerian Army for responding quickly to requests to investigate allegations of abductions and rape by soldiers attached to the Guards Brigade, Abuja.

A statement signed by the commission's Director of Public Affairs and Communications, Muhammad Nasir Ladan, quoted NHRC Executive Secretary, Professor Bem Angwe, as saying that the punitive action taken by the army in dismissing the four soldiers involved in the incident was a clear signal to all that no one was above the law.

"We commend the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Azubuike Ihejirika and entire Nigerian Army for taking this bold step to cleanse itself from this outrageous misdemeanour by her wards," Angwe said.

The commission called for further investigation and prosecution of the dismissed soldiers by the court to ensure that justice is done.

Angwe said a team of lawyers from the commission had been mandated to hold a watching brief on behalf of the commission in the criminal trials of the four soldiers.

Four soldiers, namely, Corporal Nse Eyedip (married), Emeze Uzonna (single), Ugwu Mathew (single) and Efosa Ikhuomoregbe (single) found guilty of raping women and stealing their valuables in Abuja were yesterday dismissed from the army.

The ex-soldiers, who were attached to the Guards Brigade, were deployed to patrol specific places in Abuja using a new patrol van.

The soldiers allegedly resorted to raping girls including married women and stealing their monies and other valuables.

NHRC had on January 16 called on the army to investigate and punish the perpetrators.

In another statement, GAFA also commended the military authorities for the prompt action it took against the four soldiers.

GAFA's President, Chinelo Iriele in a statement in Abuja hailed the military authorities for the court martial of the indicted soldiers and summarily dismissing them from service to serve as deterrent to others.

She also called for their immediate arraignment and prosecution on rape charges before a competent court.

According to her the prompt action by the military authorities had shown the Nigerian Army as a disciplined force that does not condone any act of indiscipline and misdemeanor by its men.

She said: "We therefore charge the police authorities to also act promptly by arraigning the dismissed officers before a court of competent jurisdiction."

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