Chiemeka ADINDU, Calabar
Mr Fred Abua, father of a young lady who was allegedly harassed by some security personnel in Calabar, has lamented that the incident has brought a psychological wound to his daughter which may take a long period of time to heal.
He said people may not understand what she was going through emotionally, saying that emotional wounds were more traumatizing than physical wounds.
Abua had narrated his daughter’s ordeal on his Facebook wall. He said the security operatives displayed unprofessionalism in the act.
“My daughter is 17, a minor. Today, at about 11:50am, she committed the crime of passing close to an Operation Akpakwu check point manned by some soldiers along Mary Slessor by Bogobri.
“It was the first time she would walk by a check point in her life. The soldiers called her back, ‘baby girl’, ‘hey’, ‘shhhhh’, etc. And when she did not respond to the catcalls because she did not imagine those calls were for her, one of the soldiers ran after her and brought her back.
“They made her kneel down, then decided she was kneeling on too soft a spot, so they asked her to kneel on a stone. And then they asked her to sit on the floor. All these to teach her to respect military.
“Of course, you can imagine the embarrassment of a young girl who is newly venturing out as passersby all watched from afar in amusement – or whatever emotion they felt. Clearly, even in the minds of these soldiers who stopped her, the girl committed no offense because they were busy asking her, ‘where are you from?’ and ‘are you the tallest girl in your village’? Why the abuse for God’s sake!
“I am venting here because I can see how this noble idea of the Cross River State Government which has yielded tremendous and almost magical results within just a month can easily lose its sting when operatives become less than professional in their conducts.
“I will not wait for her to bleed before I speak out. I hope this injustice is addressed. I love the military and I recognize the sacrifices that many soldiers are making for the peace and safety of our country. I respect my family members who have served and some who are still serving today but I will not remain silent when some overzealous and mischievous soldiers make the disciplined men of the Nigerian Military look bad”, Abua said.
In a conversation with TNN, Abua vowed to seek justice. He said he would submit a formal complaint to the special services office where the operations were controlled from, hoping to get justice.
He added that though the daughter may be strong physically that the trauma may not be easy with her emotionally. He said the military had no right to abuse the daughter that way, no matter the crime she committed. He affirmed that the daughter never insulted them in any way.
“She is healthy but it would be difficult to measure the emotional damage done to her psyche. I believe she will eventually heal though it will take time to get her to trust military personnel again. I just want to ensure that the perpetrators are disciplined as a deterrent to themselves and others who may want to take advantage of their positions to harass innocent citizens rather than fulfill the actual purpose for which they were armed.
“I support the idea of Operation Akpakwu wholeheartedly and, indeed, they have done creditably well, except for this kind of misconduct by men who are not worthy of thee military.
In response to those calling on him to forget about the petition, Abua stressed he would fight to the last. He said it was his responsibility to protect his family no matter the cost and that he has always stood against harassing the girl child.