….Says Army refuses to release corpse 10 months after
By Israel Bulus, Kaduna
A 54-year-old man, Andy Ita Ukpe is demanding N700 million compensation from Nigerian Army in order to take care of the two children left behind by his son who was killed in June by a soldier attached to Command Secondary school Kaduna.
The 29-year-old deceased, Solomon Ukpe was allegedly shot dead by a private soldier identified as Ocheme Abel while packing sand in front of the school for block making in June 2017.
The Akwan Ibom State born businessman, who was physically depressed when he visited the secretariat of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Kaduna on Wednesday, lamented that, the body of his son is yet to be released for a befitting burial 10 months after the unfortunate incident.
When contacted, Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 1 Division Mechanised Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Colonel Dole declined to comment on the allegation saying, “he could not make any comment on the matter”.
According to the man, “my late son, Solomon Andy Ukpe was 29 years old when he was shot dead by one Private soldier identified as Ocheme Abel who was among recruited soldiers by Nigerian Army in 2016.
“The young man, a carpenter and father of two, went to pack sand in front of Command Secondary school for block making when the soldier attached to the school challenged him to stop packing the sound which he did.
“He tried to explain himself and the soldier pretended to have agreed with him and gave him money to go and by cigarette. But as he turned around to go and get the cigarette, Ocheme shot him from back killing him instantly. This is the same soldier that has been terrorising the women who were farming in the area.
“Now, Policemen went to the scene to pick his corpse and deposited at Gwamna Awan hospital. But to our surprise, the Army went and collected the body of my son from the mortuary without notifying me.
“They did that under a false personality because when they came and took the body, the paper that enabled them to take the body away read civilian identity. But when I called the contact line that was on the paper, the respondent said he was a goat seller at Tudun wada.
“So, I called 1 Division and no response for two days. But on the third day, one Captain eventually picked the call and confirmed taken the body from Gwana Awan hospital but declined to tell me where it has been taken to for one week.
“It was at that stage that I contacted Human Right and they asked me to visit 44 Army Reference Hospital, Kaduna which I did even though I was not comfortable with the mutilated body I saw. I saw him and 21 others not properly kept.
“The reason for transferring the body from the mortuary the Police took it to the 44 hospital was to retract the bullet from his body so they would know whether it was from their soldier. This is surprising even when the soldier in question had admitted committing the crime. Since June last year, we are still where we were in a country that is guarded by constitution.
“It was the human right people that later went to 1 Div and said GOC wanted to see me. But each time I went there, is either GOC is on one assignment or the other. We have not been able to see to discuss.
“We have even written to the chief of army staff but no response in any way. They are saying order has to come from above and that is where we are as regard that.
“We are demanding for N700 million compensation because Solomon left responsibility behind. He left two children, one girl and one boy. One is age 7 while the second is age 9. Like I said, these children must have qualitative education up to the university”, he narrated