The Nigeria army says it is taking disciplinary action against soldiers caught on camera brutalising a civilian at Mararaba near Abuja on Saturday.
A picture, published by Daily Trust Newspaper, showed the soldiers torturing the civilian after being stripped naked.
Last Friday, while receiving a delegation from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Tukur Buratai, chief of army staff, had vowed that there would be no violation of citizens’ rights under his watch.
But just a day after his pledge, a group of soldiers were caught on camera brutalising a civilian.
According to residents of the area, soldiers stationed at Nyanya-Mararaba have been giving them a “bloody hard time”.
“They stop people at random. If you refuse to obey their humiliating command, they beat you until you collapse,” said one Ibrahim Mohammed, a resident of Mararaba.
“The soldiers just find any excuse to treat you like an animal. The sight of soldiers maltreating ordinary people has been a daily occurrence here. But we have no voice,” said Suleiman Dauda, a taxi driver.
Reacting to the development on Monday, the Nigeria army, through Sani Usman, its spokesman said: “The attention of Nigerian army has been drawn to a front-page photograph of some soldiers maltreating a suspected robber at Mararaba, Nasarawa state, on the front page of today’s edition of Daily Trust newspaper.”
“Sadly, it is also trending on the social media. There is no doubt the photograph has done incalculable damage to the image of the service. The act was unfortunate and at variance with military ethics and professionalism.
“The Nigerian army wishes to inform the public that the perpetrators of the offence have been identified, summoned and would face disciplinary action.
“The army has also reached out to the management of the newspaper over this poor and worrisome editorial judgement by giving this misdemeanour prominence in their paper. Alerting appropriate Nigerian army authorities would have been a better option that will be met with prompt response.
“We wish to assure the public that the Nigerian army would continue to protect and respect human rights and that this regrettable incident should not be used as a yardstick to judge the entire army.”