Soldiers on checkpoint torture man to death over N50 egg in Plateau

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A Nigerian military officer directs civilians at a checkpoint along Sapele-Warr road in the Niger Delta region May 26, 2009. Nigerian security forces repelled an attempted attack on an offshore oil drilling platform operated by French energy company Total on Tuesday, a security contractor working in the oil industry said. Around five attackers in a speedboat exchanged fire with security personnel shortly after dawn close to the platform at Total's 125,000 barrels per day Amenam field, located around 30 km (19 miles) from the coast of the Niger Delta. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde (NIGERIA CONFLICT ENERGY POLITICS BUSINESS CRIME LAW)
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pandemonium descended on the Tina Junction Evening Market in Jos North Local Government Area of Plateau State, when a young man aged 31, Benjamin Arum Izang, met his untimely death after buying a cooked egg at N50 from one lady simply called Blessing.

A disagreement had begun between the two in the course of transaction as Blessing alleged that Benjamin refused to pay her. As a result, she rushed down to the Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) army checkpoint at Dutse Uku, where Governor Simon Bako Lalong recently launched a Neighbourhood Peace Tour last month.

After reporting to the soldiers at the checkpoint that the young man refused to pay her, one of the soldiers came and dragged the man to the checkpoint. According to an eyewitness, “the man was cruelly tortured in the head, hand and leg with iron rods until he became motionless and unconscious.”

At that unconscious stage, he was allegedly abandoned where a Good Samaritan eventually rescued him from the checkpoint and rushed him to a nearby clinic where he was later confirmed clinically dead.

The matter was thereafter reported to the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) at Nasarawa Gwom Police Station by the community leader and also reported to the Sector Commander in charge of the area.

NAIJA LIVE TV gathered that the police rushed there and carried out some preliminary investigation, which is yet to be concluded as at press time yesterday while body of the deceased is still in police custody.

The incident created a lot of tension around Tina Junction and Dutse Uku between the community and the military at the checkpoint. One of the community leaders, Mr. Azi Paul, expressed dismay that the soldiers who are supposed to consolidate on the peace that has returned to the area are doing things that would provoke crisis.

Paul made a case that there should be justice for the deceased victim while the soldiers on duty that fateful day should be investigated and called to face the full wrath of the law on why they would torture the promising young man to death over a mere issue of N50 egg.

Also, the family of the late Simon Azi Izang has cried for justice for their son. The family alleged that Izang was tortured to death by the personnel of OPSH, a multi task force in charge of security operations in Plateau, Bauchi and parts of southern Kaduna State. The family said Izang was killed by the operatives during a misunderstanding over a N50 egg at a relaxation spot at a place known as Las Vegas at Tina Junction.

James Izang, brother of the deceased, said the OPSH personnel stripped him naked, forced him into the gutter and broke his legs with iron. He added that his late brother was brought home by sympathisers upon his release by OPSH and then died when they got to the hospital for treatment.

He noted that some eyewitnesses are ready to testify; adding that they could not approach the OPSH as there are fears that the operatives were willing to still hurt anyone. Notwithstanding, James said the family would take all necessary actions within the law to seek justice for his brother.

But when contacted, the media officer of the OPSH, Major I.A. Shittu, said he was not aware of the incident. But his counterpart in the Plateau State Police Command, ASP Ubuh Gabriel Ogaba, told The Guardian that “I am hospitalised now for typhoid,” promising that he would still contact his men if something like that happened with a very sympathetic low voice.

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