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Civilian staff shut down Defence Ministry in Abuja over alleged brutalization by soldiers

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The civilian staff of the Ministry of Defence, under the Joint Executive Council (JEC), have shut down the ministry’s headquarters in Abuja.

The shutdown is a protest against the alleged brutalization of their members by soldiers.

President of the JEC, Didam Joel stated that a civilian staff member has been detained by military authorities for a month, despite not being military personnel.

Joel also revealed that an assistant director working at Command Secondary School in Ojo, Lagos, was brutalized recently without adherence to civil service rules. The JEC comprises all affiliate unions of civilian staff in the Ministry of Defense.

While the Army has yet to issue an official statement regarding these allegations, a unionist from the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN) in the Army, Abuja, stated that the brutalization incident occurred on Monday.

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The victim, Ambrose Akhigbe, was allegedly attacked by a private soldier under the command of one Lt. Akubor and is currently hospitalized.

Further intensifying the situation, another allegation has surfaced regarding the death of a laboratory scientist at the Naval Reference Hospital in Navy Town, Ojo, Lagos, who was reportedly killed under similar circumstances within the last two months.

The ASCSN official expressed deep concern over the situation, stating, “We were at the heat of it. The person controlling the current crop of soldiers in all command schools in Lagos, including some civilian PSOs, is backing these shameful acts of killing MOD staff at duty posts.”

The official called for a complete overhaul of the command schools, advocating for their return to the original structure of the standard school system managed by professional education officers from the Ministry of Defense, with soldiers providing security only if necessary.

“The management of MOD should be aware that we are not backing down on this as we don’t know who is next,” the ASCSN official added.

This protest highlights the growing tension between civilian staff and military personnel within the Ministry of Defense, raising serious concerns about the treatment of civilian employees and the need for immediate intervention to prevent further incidents.

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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