Saturday, 22 August 2015


PRESS RELEASE By Hon Dickson Tarkighir

Any action that undermines the capacity of our democratic institutions and processes is a direct onslaught on our fledging democratic culture. Democratic tendencies must fully endure in this dispensation and the actions of all public institutions and their staff must extol the virtues inherent in a democracy. This awareness must manifest in the actions of all government institutions. The understanding that our clamour for change draws from our collective desire to totally depart from all that have plagued and stunted our maturity towards a striking resemblance of a democratic state built on the same tenets as the countries we aspire to match must be deeply ingrained in and lavishly expressed by all institutions of government.

For far too long, the military, an otherwise, highly disciplined body has allowed the practice of taking laws into their hands to manifest as a culture. Worse still, her senseless reprisals always target innocent civilians within the catchment area of the prompting incidence and with no regards for the capacity of existing democratic authorities to timely fish out the real culprits. The recurring resort to this unprofessional conduct is helped by the sad fact that punishments are never meted to those men in uniform whose gangsterism continues to diminish what should be a hallowed regards for the military establishment.

This ugly behaviour, again, showed its shameless face on the 14th to the 15th of August; 2015 in North Bank II of Makurdi Local Governement. An altercation between alleged cultists and a military personnel earlier in the day around NASME Barracks North Bank II, Makurdi, resulted in a late night attack into the morning of 15th August; 2015 by soldiers from the NASME Barracks on residents of North Bank II Makurdi Local Government and commuters plying the route. The military men beat everyone in sight even as they burnt several cars while shattering the glasses of all cars they did not burn. The shattering of glasses included those of several houses. The wailing of women and cries of children and infants at dead of night was not enough to deter the onslaught on an entire community by men who have sworn to serve our country.

It was a sad day for an entire community most members of whom learnt of the cause of the so called reprisals only in the aftermath of the destruction of their properties by the Nigerian Army. Today is a sad day for me as I share in the pains meted on my people. As a matter of fact, I have been to the House of Representatives for just two months on account of their overwhelming support and votes a few months ago. I have identified with their plight by first sponsoring a bill that seeks among other things, to bring an end to the violent clashes between farmers and cattle herders. It is therefore, very disgraceful of the army, courtesy of the poor ambassadorial conduct of a few of them, that I come here today to address a different kind of attack - that of the military on unarmed civilians whose only crime is to have resided in the same community where an altercation ensued between some alleged cultists and a military man. I condemn this reprehensible reprisal attack in the strongest terms possible. I know it violates everything a democracy stands for. I also know that the conduct violates professional military practice. I side with my people in seeking that those who attacked them, beat them and destroyed their property are brought to book. I add my voice to asking for a full compensation for all property destroyed. I urge all authorities concerned to investigate and prosecute all parties to the altercation that birthed this ugly reprisal together with the actors and actions that featured in the reprisal. In this era of change, we seek nothing less than that; all culprits are brought to book and all victims, duly compensated. This is the only way justice would be served.

Apart from the token of assistance I offer to you today, I also promise to take this matter up with the National Human Rights Commission as well as to the National Assembly when we resume from recess. I shall bring this sad incident to the attention of the nation via a motion of urgent national importance. There is a need to halt these kinds of reprisals and I am confident that my colleagues at the National Assembly will give their total support when I address them on this matter.

Lastly, let me thank our Governor, His Excellency, Chief Dr Samuel Ortom for his prompt response to us in our time of need. Not only did he visit twice in one day since the incident, he has also set up a panel to fully investigate the incident. I therefore, implore all victims and witnesses of this sad incident to cooperate with the panel by giving them all useful and necessary information to help their findings and report. We are grateful for the Governor's intervention and responsiveness.

Thank you so much for your time and your patience.

Hon Dickson Tarkighir,
Member, House of Representatives,
Makurdi/Guma Federal Constituency.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Hon. Tarkighir, we need people like you who are concerned with our plight in this era of change