A civilian, Emmanuel Odaudu, has been languishing in the Nigerian Military Special Investigation Bureau underground cell in Abuja for seven months over an old Facebook video.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Emmanuel’s ordeal started when he was in the army.
He was said to have posted on social media short videos of himself rapping while in uniform.
The videos, some of which went viral, reportedly infuriated the military authorities, leading to his arrest and detention for three months.
Emmanuel’s mother, Helen, who spoke to PUNCH Metro on Wednesday, said her son was later released, but told he would be redeployed to Maiduguri over the matter.
However, while awaiting his redeployment, Helen said the Commanding Officer, 29 Battalion Nigerian Army, Bori Camp, Port Harcourt, dismissed her son over another video he made months before his detention.
She said, “My son told me he made a post on Facebook advising people to get their permanent voter cards to vote for good governance. He was also wearing his uniform in that video, but he deleted it almost immediately. Before he deleted it, a celebrity, Charly Boy, reposted it and the commanding officer told him he had been dismissed because of that video. After his dismissal on October 5, 2017, my son returned home.”
Helen said her son was busy with his life when the military tracked him to Otukpo, Benue State, on June 12, 2020, on the allegation that he impersonated the Army in another video seen on social media.
PUNCH Metro learnt that one of Emmanuel’s old videos while in the army was shared on Facebook.
The military was said to have ordered his arrest over it.
“What happened was that Facebook shared the memory of my son’s old video and the military authorities can verify that on his page. But because he was a civilian as of the time Facebook reposted the video, they said he was impersonating. They blindfolded him, chained both his hands and legs and took him away without disclosing their destination to us,” the mother added.
The 40-year-old said the family tracked Emmanuel to an underground cell in Port Harcourt.
She said he was later transferred to the SIB underground cell in Abuja, where he was allowed to call his family.
Helen said, “When I heard my son’s voice two months after he was arrested in Otukpo, I was happy because I thought they had killed him.
“My son has been in the underground cell for seven months now; he has been tortured like a criminal and refused trial. My son is no longer an officer; whatever the offence, why can’t they hand him over to the police for trial in a conventional court? I come from the barracks, the army don’t arrest and keep civilians in detention for more than 24 hours, why is my son’s case different?
“I am pleading with the military authorities to release my son.”
The Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sagir Musa, did not take his calls and had yet to respond to a WhatsApp message sent to his phone as of press time.