A federal high court sitting in Abuja has ordered the Nigerian Army to grant Martins Idakpini, a lance corporal, access to his wife, lawyer and relatives.
Idakpini was arrested following a video in which he criticised Tukur Buratai, the chief of army staff, over the approach taken with regards to the battle against Boko Haram insurgency.
His wife, Victoria, was also arrested after she appeared in a media interview to seek the release of her husband, but she was later released.
According to Tope Akinyode, counsel to the army officer, Idakpini has been refused access to his family members and lawyer since he was arrested on June 23, 2020.
Akinyode noted that following an ex parte motion, Anwuli Chikere, the judge, agreed that the refusal of the army to allow Idakipini access to his lawyer and relatives was a continuous violation of his fundamental human rights.
The court therefore mandated the army to immediately grant the arrested officer access to his lawyer and family, and also prohibited the military from further violating the soldier’s fundamental human rights in any unlawful manner.
The matter has been adjourned till October 6 to determine the substantive case on the release of the soldier.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Akinyode, counsel to Idakpini and national president of Revolutionary Lawyers’ Forum, commended the court for the ruling.
“Today’s ruling is a landmark progress in the fight to get justice for Lance Corporal Martins and his wife. 23rd July will make it exactly one month that the victimised soldier has been arrested without any opportunity for him to reach his wife lawyer or any relative,” he said.
“It is unfortunate that the Army is lending itself to the violation of citizens’ fundamental human rights. This must stop.
“We are resolved to drive the cased to a fruitful conclusion and with the emerging information that we’ve obtained concerning Mrs Victoria Idakpini, we shall be asking the court for a multi-million compensation for the brutal violation of her fundamental human rights.”
The army has been in the news in recent times, owing to the handling of the fight against insurgency.
Earlier in July, more than 300 soldiers had indicated their interest to quit the army, citing “loss of interest”.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the senate had asked the service chiefs to step aside.
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