Alleged Brutalization : Protesting Civilian Workers Shutdown Ministry Of Defence In Abuja

On Tuesday, the protesting civilian staff of the Ministry of Defence, represented by the Joint Executive Council, shut down the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja for several hours.

This action was taken in response to the alleged brutalization of their members by soldiers.

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Comrade Didam Joel, President of the Council, alleged that a civilian staff member of the ministry had been detained by military authorities for a month, despite not being a military personnel.

He also reported that an assistant director at Command Secondary School in Ojo, Lagos, was brutalized without consideration for civil service rules.

Furthermore, he highlighted the maltreatment of civilian workers at Command Secondary School Iyana Ipaja, Lagos, without justification.

In response to these incidents, Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, ordered an immediate investigation into the alleged maltreatment at Command Secondary School Iyana Ipaja. This directive was announced in a statement by Major General Onyema Nwachukwu, Director of Army Public Relations, on Tuesday.

The statement explained that the investigation was initiated following concerns raised by the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) regarding the treatment of civilian workers at the school. The Chief of Army Staff, committed to upholding the rights of all personnel, including civilian staff, directed the Provost Marshal (Army) to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into the incident.

The investigation aims to comprehensively address all allegations raised by the ASCSN, focusing on ensuring accountability and justice for all parties involved. The statement emphasized the Nigerian Army’s recognition of the crucial role civilian staff play in supporting its operations and administration and its dedication to fostering a positive and respectful working environment for all personnel.

While acknowledging potential misunderstandings or miscommunications, the statement noted that the ongoing investigation seeks to provide clarity and implement measures to prevent similar incidents in the future. The Nigerian Army reaffirmed its commitment to upholding the rule of law and respecting the rights of all employees, including their fundamental rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining.

The statement further highlighted that the Army 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. Emphasizing the importance of open communication and collaboration in resolving challenges, the Army urged all parties to avoid premature judgments or spreading misinformation. Trust in the process is essential, and the Army is confident that the investigation will provide a clear and accurate understanding of the situation, facilitating appropriate and fair actions. The Army appreciates the patience and understanding of all stakeholders as it diligently works to address these concerns.