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Group demands investigation into shooting of trader

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The Legal Assistance and Citizens Rights Initiative (LACRI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), has demanded investigation into the shooting of a trader, Mr Akaniyene Tom Ezekiel, by the Nigerian Army in Calabar, Cross River State.

The petition, which was signed by LACRI Director, Legal Services, Evaristus Chinedum, urged the army authorities to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to book.

LACRI disclosed that Akaniyene was reportedly shot on March 21, 2021 by a soldier stationed at Nassarawa Military checkpoint, Ikot Ekpo, Calabar, without provocation, leading to severe injuries on both legs.

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“Soon after the trader was shot and it became apparent that the injuries may lead to the death of the victim, the soldiers mobilised and took him to the University of Calabar Teaching Hospital and subsequently transferred him to Traditional Healing Center, 8 Miles, Calabar, where he is currently receiving treatment.”

LACRI said it viewed the threat made to the victim not to draw the attention of the army authorities or the public to the crime as not only an attempt to suppress facts and obstruct justice, but also very inhumane as the mental torture occasioned by the incident was already unbearable for the victim.

The group stated that it demanded that the army should commence investigation immediately with a view to reprimanding the officer and ensuring prosecution of the said officer, whose action clearly violates Section 104 (2) A&B of the Armed Forces Act, LFN 2004.

But the army spokesperson in Abuja, Brigadier-General Muhammed Yerima, said he was not aware of the incident, saying the use of bullets outside a war situation is a serious offence in the army.

He, however, assured that if the investigation proved the soldier guilty, the person involved would be tried and court-marshalled.

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