Civil Society Groups Defend Governor Sanwo-Olu against Attacks by Soldiers

Civil Society Groups Defend Governor Sanwo-Olu against Attacks by Soldiers

•Urge regular psychiatric evaluation for them

Segun James

Following attacks on the Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, by some soldiers personnel and military officers, following the arrest of a soldier, who drove against traffic, a group of civil society organisations (CSOs)have asked military authorities to carry out regular psychiatric evaluation of their personnel.

The group in a statement condemned the “viral video of a yet to be identified soldier, which unfortunately was published in a national daily as well as on online platforms on the 4th of January 2024, where the soldier was seen defending his lawless colleague, who was arrested and his motorcycle confiscated by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu entourage for driving against traffic on the Lagos Badagry expressway on Tuesday 2nd January 2024.”

Those who signed the statement are Razaq Olokoba, Campaign for Dignity in Governance; Nelson Ekunjunmi, Committee for the Protection of Peoples Mandate; Raji Rasheed Oyewunmi, Yoruba Citizens Action for Change; Alex Omotehinse, Centre for Human and Socio-economic Rights; Ramat Abdul Razaq, Northern Youth Development Academy and Prince Wale Oladipupo, Epe Youth Forum.

According to them, they were compelled to respond to the comments of the soldier because of the high esteem that they hold the Nigeria Army as a disciplined and professional institution, whose image and integrity must not be allowed to be dragged into the mud by some mentally challenged personnel in need of psychiatric examination.

“It’s a fact that we operate a constitutional democracy in which our society is governed by laws. It’s also not in dispute that the Nigeria Army is a noble and distinguished law upholding institution charged by the constitution to defend the territorial integrity of our country against external aggression as well as the last line of defence against internal insurrection.

“We are all aware that there is a Lagos State traffic law 2012,which prohibits the riding of okada on the highway, to ride any automobile against traffic called one way, be it a vehicle or motorcycle amounts to a violation of the laws of the land which is punishable by law.

“By his action for which he was apprehended by Mr. Governor, the lawless apprehended soldier was in breach of the law on two count: riding okada on the highway and riding against traffic.

“It’s not in doubt that driving/riding of automobile on the road against traffic, is not only a violation of the Lagos State traffic law, but is also a threat to the good health and lives of the driver/rider and the citizenry as well, many of whom have been sent to their early graves and limbs temporarily and permanently damaged by accidents that occur as a result of such violation of the law.”

They lamented that, “Watching and listening to the comments of the soldier in the video, where he was challenging the chief security officer of Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu for performing his constitutional duty by apprehending a law breaker and questioning the rationale for the governor’s action solely on the basis that the suspect is a soldier, leaves us in no doubt that the unidentified soldier must be suffering from mental health challenge.

“Thus, we are compelled to demand that the Nigeria Army should embark on regular periodic psychiatric evaluation of its personnel of which the comments of the soldier in the viral video has exposed the mental health deficiency of some of its personnel, which must be addressed with the utmost seriousness and attention it deserves.

“Our regard for the Nigeria Army remains unshaken and unquestionable, because this character and some others like him in the Nigeria Army, do not in any way mirror the Nigerian Military which is a beacon of our unity and resilience as a people,” the statement concluded.

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