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When Will Nigerian Army Human Right Abuses Stop? Nigerian Soldiers Attack Newspaper Vendors In Aba Over Biafra Newspapers!

According to reports, Nigerian soldiers from Ngwa High School Forward Operation Base, Aba, Abia State, have again manhandled sales representatives of ThisDay and Authority Newspapers and arrested two vendors, including a 64-year-old female vendor, popularly called Jecima.

Trouble was said to have started on Monday when the soldiers in two Hilux vans stormed the newspapers distribution point located on St. Michael’s road in a commando-style and ordered everyone, including those buying newspapers and magazines to lie down on bare floor.

An eyewitness told Southern City News that having complied without hesitation, the soldiers, who said they were looking for sellers of what they termed “Biafra Newspapers”, ordered the people sitting on the floor to identify themselves.

It was gathered that when the ThisDay sales representative, Mr. Simeon Obi, identified himself, the soldiers demanded for his official identity card and a response that it was in his office upstairs drew the ire of the soldiers, who allegedly manhandled and bundled him into one of the waiting Hilux vans.

A more pathetic case was the Authority Newspapers sales representative, Mrs. Chinyere Ibe who was sharing her newspapers to vendors when the soldiers arrived and asked her to identify herself.

According to the source, immediately the woman said, “I’m with the Authority Newspapers,” one of the soldiers gave her slaps and said, “You say you be authority, who gave you that authority? Who made you the authority of this town? If I hear you be authority again, I will deal with you.”

Three sales representatives of The PUNCH, ThisDay and Authority as well as vendors were whisked away and taken to the army base at Ngwa High School, where the humiliation was said to have continued.

The army captain in charge of the base was said to have released the newspaper representatives after ordering a severe beating of Mr. Obi of ThisDay, for daring to ‘smile’ in the course of interrogation.

The two vendors, including the 64-year-old woman, who was said to have been discharged from hospital a day before the arrest, were still being held by the army at the time of filing this report.

It will be recalled that a newspaper vendor was late last year arrested by soldiers from same Ngwa High School base for allegedly selling Biafra Newspapers.

He was later moved to the headquarters of the 14 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Ohafia, from where he was later released after weeks in detention.

When contacted, the Nigerian Army Public Relations Officer, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, Abia State, Major Oyegoke Gbadamosi, confirmed the arrest by the soldiers.

Though he denied the allegation of manhandling by the soldiers, the Army spokesman, however, disclosed that the arrested vendors had been handed over to DSS for further investigations and action.

Major Gbadamosi further explained that the arrest was necessitated following the refusal of the vendors to heed to earlier warning to stop selling “Biafra Newspapers”. With


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