Army: Lagbaja Orders Investigation Into Allegations Of Civilian Brutality

By Anne Osemekeh, Abuja

The Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Taoreed Lagbaja, has said he has taken decisive action to address the recent concerns raised by the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), regarding the treatment of civilian workers at Command Secondary School Iyana Ipaja.

The Nigerian Army (NA) disclosed this on Tuesday, via a statement issued by its spokesman, Maj. Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu.

Civilian staff of the Ministry of Defence under the umbrella of the Joint Executive Council, had on Monday, 10 June 2024, staged a protest over alleged brutalisation of their members by soldiers.

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The President of the Council, Didam Joel, said a civilian staff of the ministry has been under detention for a month by military authorities, even though he is not a military personnel.

Joel added that an assistant director of the ministry working at Command Secondary School, Ojo, in Lagos, was equally brutalised yesterday without recourse to civil service rules.

In response, the COAS, expressed his unwavering commitment to upholding the rights of all personnel, including the civilian staff.

According to the statement, Lagbaja has directed the Provost Marshal (Army) to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the unfortunate incident at the Command Secondary School Iyana Ipaja, Lagos.

“The investigation will comprehensively address all allegations raised by the ASCSN, with a focus on ensuring accountability and justice for all parties involved,” the statement said.

The Nigerian Army said it recognises the vital role that civilian staff play in supporting its operations and day-to-day administration, and is therefore dedicated to fostering a positive and respectful working environment for all personnel.

While acknowledging that misunderstandings or miscommunication may occur, Lagbaja said the ongoing investigation aims to provide clarity, and implement necessary measures to prevent similar incidents in the future.

“The NA is committed to upholding the rule of law and respect for the rights of all its employees, including the fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining”, said Nwachukwu, adding that the NA is actively engaging with the Ministry of Defence and the ASCSN to address any outstanding issues and promote a cordial working relationship and industrial harmony.

The NA further urged all parties to refrain from making premature judgements or spreading misinformation as the investigation progresses.

“Trust in the process is essential, and the NA is confident that the investigation will provide a clear and accurate understanding of the situation to facilitate appropriate and fair actions. We appreciate the patience and understanding of all stakeholders, as we diligently work to address these concerns”, the statement read.

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