BENIN CITY - Some army personnel yesterday stormed the mobile court trial venue of the “Clean Up Edo Project unleashing brutality on the officers, with about 25 violators who were to be arraigned escaping in the ensuing confusion.
It was gathered from an eye witness who does not want his name in print that one of the soldiers prevented members of the task force from carrying out their legitimate duty of arresting offenders who were caught trading on the walk way at Butcher Street, Mission Road.
According our source, when he failed in that attempt; he mobilized five other colleagues who came and sacked the mobile court, causing chaos while people scampered for safety. It was gathered that more than twenty-five accused persons who were arraigned and under-going trial escaped in different directions.
In the process, court books, files and other records of the mobile court were allegedly carted away by yet to be identified persons.
Chairs, tables and canopy used by the mobile court were destroyed, Magistrates escaped by the whiskers, while members of the Edo State Environmental Sanitation task force including police men were beaten by the rampaging army personnel who were about six in number.
They allegedly engaged officers of the Nigeria Police in free for all, thereby causing pandemonium around the kings Square.
However members of the task force successfully grabbed two of the army personnel whose identifies could not be immediately ascertained as at press time. Contacted the General Manager, Edo State waste Management Board, Prince Aiyamenkhue Akonofua confirmed the incident and said law enforcement agencies including the military should be advised on the consequences of disrupting constituted court of competent jurisdiction set up by the state Government to sanitize the environment.
The Commissioner of Police promised after meeting with both parties to follow the exact procedures for investigating military officers as contained in the police law.
Meanwhile, the state police Public Relations Officer, DSP Moses Nkonde said the case was being handled by the criminal investigation department of the command.
Contacted, on phone, the Army PRO Capt Mohammed Maidawa said,” there is nothing like that, Nothing like that happened.”
Asked who were the people caught? He said: “The information is not correct. The Army cannot sack a mobile court of law.
The Army respects rule of law. The information is not correct. The people involved couldn’t have been members of the Nigerian Army.”
It was, however, further gathered that as at press time, the two army officers arrested had been released.