By Ijendu Iheaka
Aba (Abia) – The Nigerian Army, 14 Brigade, Ohafia in Abia says Army headquarters is treating the alleged case of human rights abuse of young men in Aba by some military personnel.
The Acting Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 14 Brigade, Ohafia, Major Aliu Kadiri disclosed this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
“If there is a new special operation going on in Aba, I will find out from the Commanding Officer and confirm.
“We are on the issue of the haircut. Our headquarters have called us on it, we are working on it,” he said.
Kadiri was responding to Aba residents’ condemnation of what they termed the unwarranted arrest, flogging, shaving of hair and movement to unknown destination of young men by personnel of the Nigerian Army.
Some of the residents, who spoke to NAN, said they were afraid that another season of Operation Python Dance had started in Aba.
They said the inhuman treatment meted to young men was uncalled for.
An eyewitness who pleaded anonymity told NAN that masked military personnel visited many streets in the city on Saturday dehumanizing young men and taking them to unknown destination.
“Their targets were young men who wore bleached hair, dreadlocks and had grown hairs.
“The masked soldiers brutalized and flogged several of their victims; they used scissors to scrap their hair, then threw them inside their vehicles and zoomed off.
“It was a sorry scene at Ehi road as the soldiers swooped on young people from nowhere and started arresting, flogging, maltreating and cutting the hairs of any young man with dreadlocks or and sprayed hairs which made us afraid to come close.
“We have never seen such wickedness before and have never been told that dreadlocks or grown hair is now an offense.
“We all stayed away to avoid anyone shooting us and ‘giving the dog a bad name just to get it killed. This happened in my presence,” he said.
A Human Rights Lawyer in Aba, Chief Prince Ukaegbu decried the action of the military personnel in the commercial city, describing it as `illegal and an unbridled’ display of power.
The lawyer expressed worry at the increasing level of lawlessness in the nation adding that it was felt in every area of human endeavour.
Ukaegbu blamed the civil society organizations for being docile to some unwarranted recklessness of people in power in Nigeria.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to wake up and stand for their rights against breach of their fundamental human rights.