by FADAKA LOUIS
Some soldiers on Friday invaded some communities in the Yewa-North Local Government Area of Ogun State and forced the victims to recant torture allegation against them.
The soldiers, whose identities could not be ascertained as of the time of filing this report, stormed the villages and assembled the residents on Friday evening, The Punch reports.
The soldiers, numbering about 10, had reportedly escorted some herdsmen to some villages in Ketuland a few weeks ago and flogged them for refusing to allow the herdsmen to graze their cattle on their farmlands.
Three traditional rulers in the area wrote a petition against the soldiers and addressed it to the Army, the government and the police in the state.
The Army kept mum while the government and the police confirmed they were aware of the incident.
Unknown herdsmen have invaded a village in Ogun…
On Friday, some soldiers were reported to have returned to one of the villages; Ubeku, in Eseluland, and asked one of the victims to retract the allegation.
The activities of the soldiers were secretly recorded by one of the villagers who gave the audio clip to our correspondent.
The 3:59 minutes audio revealed that the Army had received the petition over the allegation that its officers from 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, allegedly connived with herdsmen to flog some members of the community for refusing the herdsmen to graze their cattle on their farmlands.
One of the soldiers who appeared to have been commissioned to investigate the allegation was heard asking the victim to make a video recording of the retraction.
The soldier was heard making frantic efforts to force the victim simply identified as Seye to retract his statement but he insisted that he was flogged.
The soldier was heard saying, “…I want you to video him because your name is what we have in the petition. Your name is what we have so you will record him now. He will call his name and say that nobody touched you.
“I have to write a report on the investigation. I want to speak with him. Then, you, being the Baale and the youth leader, if that is done I think I am okay with it.
“You will say from you who claimed that you were beaten mercilessly because you asked a question; soldiers spit on you. He will call his name as you are recording him and say all these are false. Nobody touched him and whatever he said, nobody forced him to say; he said it out of his freewill in the presence of the Baale and the youth leader and of course members of the community. Are you getting me? Go ahead.”
The soldier however warned that failure of the victim to make the retraction might force the Army to return to arrest him and refuse an emergency call from the community.
He said, “Let me tell you what this thing means; the need to clear this air. If you don’t clear it, next time when they call, the Army will not respond because you people have alleged and penned the name of the Army in a bad light, and the Army will not respond when there is any emergency in this place.
“If they don’t respond, you can’t blame them. So, the need to clear this is very important. If I were you, I would come out clear because your name is everywhere in the petition they wrote; that you were beaten mercilessly and look at you here. So, the earlier you clear the air, the better for you.”