•Denies molesting journalists
Senator Iroegbu in Abuja
The Nigerian Army has arrested a deserter soldier and 10 others suspects over plans to cause mayhem in the forthcoming gubernatorial elections in Edo State.
The Director of Army Public Relations (DAPR), Col. Sani Usman, disclosed this in a statement yesterday, denying reports that security agents molested some journalists in the state.
Usman debunked the report as false but clarified that the Nigerian Army and Department of State Services (DSS) arrested 11 people including a soldier that deserted his post.
He said: “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to an online publications alleging that soldiers of 4 Brigade Nigerian Army and personnel of the DSS Edo State command of arresting and molesting 10 journalists in Benin, Edo State earlier today.
“This is not correct as the online media did not get their facts right.
“It is important to state that sequel to the prevailing security situation in the state which led to the postponement of the earlier scheduled gubernatorial election in Edo State, there were credible security reports that some unpatriotic persons have hired hoodlums with the intention of causing mayhem during the forthcoming election in the state.”
The army spokesman stated that the reports further showed that the suspected hoodlums have been lodged in some hotels within Benin City and its environs.
Acting on this, he said, the DSS in conjunction with troops of 4 Brigade Nigerian Army carried out cordon and search operations in the suspected areas.
“This led to the arrest of 10 suspected persons in one of the hotel. Among the suspects arrested was a deserted soldier,” he added.
Usman stressed “that none of the arrested suspects identified himself as a journalist or mention the media he reports for, contrary to the allegations of the online media.”
In addition, he said, quite a number of incriminating items including INEC sensitive materials were recovered from them.
He however, noted that “all the suspects were treated humanely and in the most dignified manner which has always been in accordance with our Code of Code and the tradition.”
“Therefore none of them was molested at all during the operation and subsequent handing over to the relevant security agency,” he added.
The DAPR also reiterated the position of the Nigerian Army which stressed, has zero tolerance for such unprofessional and unethical conduct such as harassment and molestation of innocent citizens.
He assured that Nigerian Army would always conduct itself professionally and responsibly in all its operations.
Usman advised people to always cross check facts before rushing to file or post such stories.