Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Brutai, has blocked Lance Corporal Martins Idakpini, a detained soldier, from seeing his lawyer and family in a contemptuous disregard to an order of the Federal High Court, Abuja.
Justice Chikere of the Federal High Court had on July 22, 2020 made an order mandating the Chief of Army Staff and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to grant Lance Corporal Martins immediate access to his lawyer and relative after human rights lawyer, Tope Akinyode, argued an ex parte application before the court.
The judge held that the inability of the detained soldier to see his family violates his fundamental human rights.
However, Akinyode, who is also the National President of Revolutionary Lawyers’ Forum, told SaharaReporters that the army had failed to honour the court order with impunity.
Akinyode said, “As soon as we obtained the court order, we wrote the Chief of Army Staff to notify him. We served a CTC of the order on the army. They’re aware of the court order but have decided to treat it with astonishing disrepute.”
A copy of the letter cited by SaharaReporters showed that the office of the Chief of Army Staff received CTC of the court order on July 27, 2020.
Akinyode said he had been to the army headquarters twice, with a last visit on Wednesday in an attempt to visit his client but was turned down by officers of the Nigerian Army.
The lawyer said, “We got to the army headquarters yesterday at exactly 2:45pm and met officers Aura AA and Suleiman AA and two other military personnel at the front desk who disallowed me from entering to see Lance Corporal Martins as ordered by the court.
“The officers at the front desk asked me to write a reminder letter to the Chief of Army Staff. 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.”
Akinyode said he called the Attorney-General of the Federation in respect of the court order and Malami promised to wade into the issue.
Akinyode added, “The AGF is 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 phone to inform him of the development. The AGF told me that he has seen my letter and has minuted on it for action.
“The AGF told me the holiday could stall the process but that as soon as the holiday was over, I should call him so he’ll follow up with compliance.”
Lance Corporal Martins remains in detention and incomunicado for over a month since he was arrested.
He was arrested shortly after he made a video castigating Buratai for the failings of the army to combat and destroy Boko Haram.
Sources within the army have revealed to SaharaReporters that Buratai considers the video personally offensive to him and had vowed to ensure the Lance Corporal “rots” in jail.
There is no information yet about Lance Corporal Martins as nobody had been able to reach him.