By Patrick Obia
“Take notice that in the event of your failure to act within 72 hours from the receipt of this complaint, we have final instructions from our client to seek legal redress and without further recourse to you”.
The above is an extract from a statement by the Principal Counsel, Basic Rights Law Partners, James Ibor, Esq. addressed to the Commissioner of Police, Cross River State over the rights violation of a Magistrate and his Doctor by men of the Nigerian Air Force attached to Operation Akpakwu.
In the ten paragraph petition addressed to the State’s Commissioner of Police, the firm called for immediate investigation and the perpetrators brought to book.
It further demanded an open apology, payment of the Magistrate’s medical bills as well as recompense warning that, failure to do so in 72 hours will be followed with legal actions.
Letter reads in full:
“Our client is a learned Magistrate in the Cross River State Judiciary and currently serving as the Presiding Officer of Chief Magistrates Court 2 Ogoja but he often travels almost every weekend to visit his family in Calabar.
“Our client is a victim of needless and unwarranted assault and brutality perpetrated by military personnel (Nigeria Air Force) of the 305 Special Mobility Force attached to the Cross River State Anti-Kidnapping Taskforce code named Operation Akpakwu.
“It is our brief that on the fateful evening of Friday 19/3/2021 our client arrived his home in Calabar after a long and tiresome journey from Ogoja and met a medical emergency which prompted him to call his family physician Dr. Maxwell Ugobo for intervention. Later on, at about 10:30pm while our client was on his way to drop off Dr. Ugobo at his Satellite Town residence, they were stopped by military personnel dressed in military camouflage and stationed at UNICAL Hotel Road by Victory Way, Calabar with their Hilux vehicle indicating that they are from the 305 Special Mobility Force. They seized our clients car keys, ordered them to sit on bare ground, threatening to keep them till dawn. Our client introduced himself as a Magistrate and showed his official identity card even as his car has a Government plate number, but the personnel became even more infuriated, pounced on him and severally slapped him on the face, damaging his right ear and causing some hearing impairment.
“After the assault, our client was ordered to sit on bare ground and keep vigil till dawn but was later allowed to go after sitting for about 1 hour 30 minutes. Interestingly, the assault and brutalisation of our client was witnessed by one Dr. Udoh of the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Akwa Ibom State who himself was also arrested and manhandled by the same personnel same night, among other persons already detained there at to keep vigil till dawn for allegedly violating a curfew.
“Our client is still undergoing medical examination and treatment as an outdoor patient at the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital, Calabar and series of tests have already been carried out.
“Sir, the conduct of the said military personnel is, to say the least, uncivilised and a total negation of the training and discipline which signposts the Nigeria Air Force and indeed the military!
“We humbly urge you to cause and commission an immediate investigation of this case with a view to discipline and bring the personnel involved to book. We further demand the payment of due recompense to our client to cover his medical bills as well as a written apology.
“Take notice that in the event of your failure to act within 72 hours from the receipt of this complaint, we have final instructions from our client to seek legal redress and without further recourse to you.” It ended.
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