Facebook post: Army detains civilian in underground cell for eight months

A civilian, Emmanuel Odaudu, has spent no fewer than eight months in the Nigerian Military Special Investigation Bureau underground cell in Abuja over an old Facebook video.

Emmanuel’s ordeal reportedly started when he posted online shot videos of himself rapping in his uniform while he was in the army.

It was learnt that the military authorities saw some of the videos, which went viral, and ordered his arrest.

Emmanuel, who was said to have been detained for three months because of the videos, was later released and told he would be redeployed to Maiduguri over the matter but while awaiting his redeployment, the Commanding Officer, 29 Battalion Nigerian Army, Bori Camp, Port Harcourt, dismissed him over another video he made months before his detention.

The victim’s mother, Helen, said after his dismissal on October 5, 2017, the military reportedly tracked Emmanuel down to Otukpo, Benue State, on June 12, 2020, on the allegation that he impersonated the Army in another video seen on social media.

“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.

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“We tracked Emmanuel to an underground cell in Port Harcourt but he was later transferred to the SIB underground cell in Abuja, where he was allowed to call us. 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 doesn’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,” Helen said.

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