Udora Orizu in Abuja
The House of Representatives at the resumption of plenary Thursday mandated its Committees on Army to interface with the leadership of the Nigeria Army to urgently release detained soldier, Lance Corporal Martins and his wife Victoria ldakpein.
Martins had on June 23, 2020 in a video criticised security chiefs in the country for not doing enough to end terrorism and needless killings of citizens.
The House also mandated its committee on Defence and Army to investigate the alleged detention of the soldier and his wife.
It further resolved that Lance Corporal Martins ldakpein should be brought before the relevant House Committees and the leadership to brief them of the happening in the Northern part of the country from information within his knowledge.
These resolutions were sequel to the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance, titled, ‘A Call on the Nigeria Army to Release Lance Corporal Martins Idakpein from Arrest on the Basis of his Expressed Opinion’, sponsored by Hon. Ndudi Elumelu.
Moving the motion, Elumelu noted that on June 22, 2020, Lance Corporal Martins ldakpein from the 8 Division of the Nigeria Army made an online video wherein he condemned the Iackadaisical attitude of security chiefs towards the incessant attacks and killings of innocent Nigerians by Boko Haram and other armed groups in the northern part of the country.
He said the security chiefs after seeing the video instead of buckling up and be up to their duties in protecting the country, the Chief of Army Staff ordered that Lance Corporal Martins be arrested and moved from Sokoto to Abuja for speaking up against the army authorities.
He expressed concerns that the military who are supposed to protect the territorial integrity as well as enforce the laws of the country is in a habit of illegal, wrongful and unconstitutional detention of soldiers whenever they ask that the right things be done.
Elumelu said, ‘’Though Section 121 of the Armed Forces Act, grants the military the restrictive powers to arrest its personnel but Section 122(6) of the same act provides that such personnel is entitled to immediate release, unless the release will be a threat to national security.
Lance Corporal Martins ldakpein has not proven to be a threat in any way. Lance Corporal ldakpein has been held in detention till date and his wife who tried to secure his release has also been detained too; this is an affront to the letters of chapter 4 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which guarantees the fundamental human rights of citizens.’’
Similarly, the House at the plenary directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to set in motion the necessary steps to identify and trace all Nigerians including Miss Faridah Abdulsamiu detained or held in captivity in various detention centres in Libya with a view to securing their immediate release from detention.