By Alex Uangbaoje, Kaduna
Mr. Andy Ukpe, father of late Solomon Ukpe a 29 years old boy because who was murdered by a soldier at Command Secondary School, Kaduna, in June 2017, has called on the Nigerian Army and Chief of Army Staff to release the dead body of his son for burial, after about ten months.
He laments the attitude of the Army in the way and manner they are handling the matter by refusing to meet the family to discuss about his late son and the wife and two children he left behind.
Mr. Ukpe, explained that, every attempt by him to meet with the GOC of 1 Div prove abortive as they kept telling him, he is not around, saying, “each time I go there, is either the GOC is on assignment or one thing or the other and since that time we have not been able to discuss anything.
The deceased boy’s father who spoke when he visited the secretariat of Nigerian Union of Journalists, Kaduna on Wednesday, lamented that, the body of his son has been mutilated and in a very bad condition.
“We have written to the Chief of Army Staff and we have done everything possible but they are not responding in any way, the last time. The last time we sat down to discuss with the chief of staff in 1 Div, he told order has to come from above before they can respond.”
He accused the Army of illegally moving the copse of his son from Gwamna Awan Hospital mortuary, where Police deposited his body, adding, “since the time my son was shot by and was taken to Gwamna Awan Hospital mortuary, a week later, after granting an interview to the Army, they took the body of my son was taken illegally from the mortuary without notifying me.
“They came under a force personality but the paper that enabled them to take the body reads a civilian identity, and when I called the number the person that picked it said he is goat seller in Tudun Wada. Then I called 1Div for two days and they refused to pick my calls, it was on the third day one Captain then picked and said they are the one that took the body from the mortuary, but he refused to disclosed where the body was taken to.
“It was when I went to National Human Right Commission and they ask me to go and check 44 Military Reference Hospital, when I got there, I discovered that the copse has been severely mutilated, so I now report back to them and it was National Human Right Commission that now went to 1 Div and then they called and I explained to them and they say the GOC want to see me, but up til now nothing has been done.”
He said he has asked the Army to compensate the family he left behind with 700 Million Naira to enable them take care of the wife and children he left behind, and also release his body for burial.
“I told them to give me his body, compensate me with 700 million naira so that I can go and bury my son, but for us to discuss it, the GOC is not always around and I have been there three times and nobody dare to give me solid information as to why they are still keeping my son’s body up to this time.
“We are demanding for the money because he left responsibilities; a wife and two children, one is 9years and the other is 7years.” Mr. Ukpe added.
According to the man, “my late son, Solomon Andy Ukpe was 29 and a half years old when he was shot dead by one Private soldier identified as Ocheme Abel who was among recruit soldiers by Nigerian Army in 2016.
“The young man, a carpenter and father of two, went to pack sand in front of Command Secondary school for block making when the soldier attached to the school challenged him to stop packing the sound which he did.
“He tried to explain himself and the soldier pretended to have agreed with him and gave him money to go and by cigarette. But as he turned around to go and get the cigarette, Ocheme shot him from back killing him instantly. This is the same soldier that has been terrorising the women who were farming in the area.
“Now, Policemen went to the scene to pick his corpse and deposited at Gwamna Awan hospital. But to our surprise, the Army went and collected the body of my son from the mortuary without notifying me.
He however said, if after exploring all the available avenue to resolve the matter amicably, the family would be left with no option than to seek legal redress.
When contacted, Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 1 Division Mechanised Nigerian Army, Kaduna, Colonel Dole declined to comment on the allegation saying, “he could not make any comment on the matter”.