There are rising fears that Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini, detained over a now viral video, in which he criticised the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai, for “failing to provide adequate resources to soldiers combating Boko Haram,” has been killed.
Martins had also in the footage called on President Muhammadu Buhari to be “serious in its fight against insurgency.”
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Top military sources cited in one report by SaharaReporters said Buratai had vowed to deal ruthlessly with the detained soldier for his action.
However, there are now fears that the army may have killed Martins, who has not been seen or heard from since he was arrested over a month ago.
This is as the Army, in a complete disregard to the Abuja Federal High Court’s order mandating it to allow Martins see his lawyer and family, last Wednesday, refused them access to the military officer despite being served copies of the court processes.
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 relatives, saying it was a contravention of the fundamental human rights of the soldier not to be allowed to see them.
Human rights activist and National President of Revolutionary Lawyers’ Forum, Mr Tope Akinyode, who is representing Idakpini, reportedly said “Buratai’s action is a coup d’etat on the Nigerian constitution”.
He added, “Buratai is tearing the constitution apart and rendering useless the concept of the rule of law. He is about to become a dictator before our very eyes.”
“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 said.
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?
“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.”
WATCH The Video That Got Lance Corporal Martins Detained