Soldiers Storm Magistrate Court, Beat Up Officials And Free Suspects
BENIN—There was a mild drama in the premises of Evbuoriaria Magistrate’s Court, Benin, yesterday, as soldiers stormed the court and freed four suspects brought for arraignment by officials of the Edo State War Against Indiscipline, WAI.
Attempt to contact officials of Army Public Relations, 4 Brigade Benin, for comments failed as they could not be reached.
It was gathered that the soldiers had earlier stormed the premises of WAI located at the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Tourism, and allegedly beat up staff of the agency in their bid to rescue the arrested suspects.
WAI officials were said to have arrested a couple and impounded their Mitsubishi car with number plates EDO BEN 451 FH along Airport Road over alleged violation of traffic rules.
The couple put a call to some persons, following which a detachment of soldiers stormed the premises, releasing gunshots into the air and beating up some staff of the agency.
Lawrence Loye, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Transport, a retired Army Major, intervened and the soldiers left the premises.
The agency’s officials, in line with Edo State traffic and sanitation laws, imme-diately took the suspects to a magistrate’s court.
The suspects were at the court premises with officials of WAI awaiting the assigning of the case to a magistrate, when a detachment of soldiers arrived the court in a Toyota Hilux van and dragged the suspects out of the WAI vehicle into theirs.
A Chief Magistrate described the action as shameful and directed staff to write a petition to relevant authorities.
Edo State chairman of WAI, David Olukogha, said the soldiers, attached to a construction company (names withheld), acted on the orders of an expatriate worker with the company.
He gave the names of the suspects as Edna Oriakogba, Paulinus Ekwugwu, Eddy Inogie and Okwolise Lucky.