Thursday, September 28, 2023
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Reps Summon Army, Defence Chiefs Over Soldiers ‘Assault’ On Benue Residents

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The house of representatives has summoned chief of defence staff, Lucky Irabor, and chief of army staff, Faruk Yahaya, over the alleged involvement of some soldiers in the assault of residents in Gboko, Benue LGA.

House of rep, Benue

The lower legislative chamber passed the resolution during the plenary session on Wednesday following the adoption of a motion sponsored by Mark Gbillah, the lawmaker representing Gwer east/Gwer west federal constituency of Benue state.

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Speaking on the motion, Gbillah alleged that on March 18, officers of the 401 division invaded Old Barn Hotel, Gboko, in army trucks and “viciously assaulted and brutalised several persons and guests”.

He said the officers, about 20 in number, dressed in military uniforms but “without any identifiers such as nametags, any form of personal identity or ranks”.

“The military men ordered all persons within view to move, gather in groups and squat on the ground without explaining such cruel and inhuman treatment,” he said.

Gbillah said Kpam Sokpo, a lawmaker representing Buruku federal constituency was also attacked by the soldiers.

“Despite introducing himself as a serving member of the house of representatives, the soldier rather poured more invectives on the honourable and ordered his subordinates to slap him and in an attempt to defend himself from the unprovoked assault, about 20 soldiers pounced on him and others with guns and brutally assaulted them. This resulted in serious injuries on his head, face, shoulders, chest, back, both arms and legs,” he said.

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“This same team of soldiers were allegedly responsible for the extra-judicial killings of at least two persons in Gboko in two separate instances on the same day.”

The motion, which was not debated, was adopted when Idris Wase, the presiding officer, put it to a voice vote.

The army and defence chiefs are expected to explain to the lawmakers the circumstances behind the “unprovoked attack and why these military officers did not carry proper identification or inform the civilians about their mission”.

“And to brief house about actions currently taken by military authorities to investigate the unprovoked assault on residents of Gboko, including honourable Kpam Jimin Sokpo and the shooting to death of two persons in Gboko on 18 March 2023.“

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