A young man identified as Orladue Shidi has been reportedly murdered by troops of the Nigerian Army, Peoples Gazette can report, based on testimony from family sources.
The victim’s family said he was accused of being a blood relative of notorious gang leader Terwase Akwaza, alias ‘Gana’.
A member of the Shidi Akaa-tyem family in Katsina-Ala Local Government Area of Benue State, who pleaded anonymity to avoid being singled out for victimisation by the military, told the Gazette that Mr. Shidi was extrajudicially killed by army personnel after being held in custody for 20 days.
“He (Orladue Shidi) was arrested on December 9, 2020, at Abaji market along Katsina-Ala Takum road (an interception between Benue and Taraba states) by soldiers from Gbise village here in Benue,” our source said.
“When his sister accosted troops deployed in Gbise, they said they were investigating to unravel whether or not Shidi was related to Gana (a notorious bandit leader recently neutralised by the military),”
“Trusting the army not to act like (the now disbanded) SARS unit of the police (which was infamous for extrajudicial killings), she went home relaxed that her brother would be released upon conclusion of investigation,” he added.
The Gazette learnt that Mr. Shidi was, however, murdered in military custody and his corpse dumped at Zaki Biam road, 182.1 km from the capital city Makurdi. The outcome of the purported investigation has remained unknown.
“A passerby who saw the body discarded by the roadside informed the family about the situation,” our source stated, while narrating that members of the family had absconded their hometown for fear of being hounded and killed by soldiers.
An army spokesman did not immediately respond to how military authorities were working to ensure that the Shidi Akaa-tyem family gets justice for their slain kinsman.
The Nigerian Army has been long notorious for various forms of human rights infractions against citizens, as well as war crimes. Although the military has spent years fighting back against the accusations — establishing a desk to address abuses in 2017— its personnel have shown no sign of improved understanding or importance of human rights of civilians.