Emmanuel Brown, the 23-year-old son of female soldier, Philomena Nnamoko, attached to Ilese Sappers Barracks, Division 2, Ogun State, has been allegedly detained by the Nigerian Army.
Our correspondent gathered that Brown was locked up in a guardroom by a female lieutenant colonel in the army for granting an interview to The PUNCH shortly after his mother was sent to a psychiatric hospital in Yaba.
In the interview with our correspondent, Brown explained how soldiers beat his mother and sent her to the psychiatric hospital under the guise that she had a mental illness.
In an interview with Sunday PUNCH, Nnamoko accused her superiors of sexual harassment and maltreatment and claimed to have written 10 discharge letters without her superiors approving any.
However, in a recorded voice note that was made available to Sunday PUNCH by Nnamoko’s lawyer, Kayode Oshiyemi, our correspondent heard her lamenting that her child had been locked up in a guardroom.
She was heard saying, “They are unwilling to release me from here and have locked up my child in the guardroom because he spoke to PUNCH Newspaper. Civilian workers on this premise concluded that I would be here (psychiatric hospital) for a month, alleging that I had attempted suicide, which I never attempted to do.
“The most painful part is my child who had been detained in the guardroom by a female lieutenant colonel.”
Efforts to speak with the Director of Army Public Relations, Maj. Gen. Nwachukwu Onyema, proved abortive as his number was unreachable, and he had not replied to messages sent to him via SMS and WhatsApp as of the time of filing this report.
But the spokesperson of the 35 Artillery Brigade, Lt. Mohammed Goni, said, “The whole concept of your story is not correct and you didn’t contact me at that point to clarify issues to you.”
“I can’t give you fictitious information to work with. Come let’s go for investigative journalism so you can see for yourself; you can’t write such a sensitive report without having factual proof,” Goni said.
Reacting to the incident, the lawyer described Brown’s arrest as unlawful.
Oshiyemi, “The boy went to see his mother and they locked up the boy, he is now in the cell of the Nigerian army because he went to make a publication about his mother.
“Because they don’t want us to go to court because of the ill-treatment that they had done to the woman (Philomena), they are now locking up her son in the guardroom. Meanwhile, the boy has done nothing wrong, just because he was granted an interview to PUNCH Newspaper; that is an unlawful detention of a civilian.
The lawyer told Sunday PUNCH that the soldier’s son had been unreachable when he tried to contact him.
He said, “When I tried calling the boy’s phone, I discovered that someone else was using it to chat with me on WhatsApp. Later, I found out that the boy was in the guardroom and the person I was communicating with was not him.
“Unsure of their identity, I messaged them, explaining that I knew the boy was unlawfully detained according to his mother, and that I would take action because he is a civilian, not an army officer, and should not be detained.
“Around 30 minutes later, the son called me and informed me that he had been released. I asked him why he had been detained, and he explained that a lieutenant colonel claimed he had published the issue in a newspaper, and that was what led to his arrest.”