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Navy Ratings coerce business man to drink drainage water in Rivers State

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Some Ratings of the Nigerian Navy assigned to Bonny Island, Rivers State, to enforce the lockdown directive by the government have allegedly tortured a member of the public, an entrepreneur by the name Justus Jim-Halliday, for attempting to go to a neighbour’s house.

We learned that the 29-year-old businessman was forced by the officers into a gutter and ordered to swim in it.

Upon that, the naval ratings allegedly ordered Justus to drink the gutter water.

The victim himself claimed he was flogged with horsewhips by the Ratings.

The incident was said to have occurred on Monday, June 22, 2020, when the victim was on his way to collect a phone charger from his friend, who lives in the same neighbourhood.

He said, “I came out of my junction on Monday and saw some naval ratings a few metres away and I went back inside to get my face mask and I approached them where they were seated.

“I told them that I wanted to get my phone charger from a friend, whose house was just a few metres away. The rating I was talking to started laughing at me and said that what I wanted to do was not an essential duty.

“I was still waiting when one of the ratings came from behind and told me to hold a pillar that was there; I ignored the instruction because I didn’t know what I did to warrant that; so, I continued talking to the other one and the next thing I knew was that the one behind me used a whip to flog my ear.

“I turned round to ask why he did that when I noticed that he was about to whip me for the second time and I held his hand, but before I knew what was happening, about three of them ganged up and tried to pin me to the ground.

“One of them cocked his gun and threatened to shoot me and I made a sound with my mouth and a high ranking officer asked what I wanted to do and asked that I follow him and ordered me to lie in the stagnant water and use my tongue to lick the water. He later put a pair of handcuffs on my hands while I remained in the gutter.

“The officer left me inside the gutter from around 3pm and left the place after receiving a call, only to return around 6pm, and when he came back, he asked for the name of the cult I belonged to and I told him that I didn’t belong to any cult; he asked his subordinates to check my body and they found no tattoos on me and the commander asked me that if I didn’t belong to any cult, how come they received a call to waste my life and that they were told that I was one of the troublemakers in the area.

“I told him that if the call was from the local government council, then it was because I told them to ensure good governance and the officer looked at me and said I looked responsible; so, he lifted me up from the gutter and asked me to go, but I want justice because I don’t know why I was brutalised and I want to know why someone would call the naval personnel and give them instructions that I should be wasted.”

A spokesperson for the Nigerian Navy, in Bonny Island, Sub-Lieutenant Oluwatosin Omole, stated that Justus refused to obey orders when he was asked to return home, also stating that the officers flogged him in accordance with the directive of the Rivers State Government.

“The ratings didn’t do any of the things he alleged; we don’t encourage our men to operate in that manner or to treat people like that. None of my men will do such to him.”

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