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Nigerian Army disobeys court order, denies detained soldier access to lawyer, wife

Despite an order of the Federal High Court in Abuja, mandating the Nigerian Army to allow a detained soldier, Idakpini Martins, see his lawyer and family, the Force on Wednesday, refused to obey.

Mr Martins, a lance corporal, was arrested over a viral video on social media criticising the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, for “failing to provide adequate resources to soldiers combating Boko Haram.”

He also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to be “serious in its fight against insurgency.”

He has since been detained and has remained incommunicado for over a month without access to his lawyer nor family.

Following a rights violation lawsuit, on July 22, Justice A. I. Chikere of the Federal High Court, Abuja granted the soldier access to his lawyer and relative.

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The judge held that it was a contravention of the fundamental human rights of the soldier not to be allowed to see his family and lawyer.

But on Wednesday when the soldier’s lawyer, Tope Akinyode, visited the Nigerian Army headquarters, he was not permitted to see his client, despite being served copies of the court processes.

“We’ve written to notify the Chief of Army Staff of the court order. We served a copy of CTC of the court order on the Army. They’re aware of the order of (the) court but have decided to treat it with astonishing disrepute,” Mr Akinyode told PREMIUM TIMES.

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The lawyer said he was turned back alongside the wife and elder sister of Mr Martins.

“We got to the Army headquarters at exactly 2:45p.m. today and met officers Aura AA and Suleiman AA and 2 other military personnel at the front desk who disallowed me from entering to see Lance Corporal Martins as ordered by Court,” Mr Akinyode said.

“I find that very insulting. We’re talking about a court order. A valid order of court and who is the Army by the way to disobey court decisions?

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“The AGF is also a defendant in the suit and I sent him a letter notifying him of the court order. So, after the Army denied me entrance yesterday, I called the AGF on (the) phone to inform him of the development. The AGF told me that he has seen my letter and has minuted on it for action.”

PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday reached out to spokesperson of the Army, Sagir Musa, but he was yet to respond to our enquiries as of the time of filing this report.



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