Banex Shop Owner Freed From Army Torture Following Take It Back Movement Intervention

In response to widespread public condemnation, an Abuja shop owner, Caleb Chidera, who was unlawfully detained and tortured by the Nigerian Army personnel in connection with the Banex Plaza altercation has been released.

The incident drew significant attention from activists, media outlets, and the general public, ultimately leading to Caleb’s liberation.

Speaking to the Take It Back Movement, the wife of Caleb Onyemaeachi Chidera confirmed the news of her husband’s release and expressed heartfelt gratitude for the support and efforts that contributed to his freedom.

She stated, “I want to say a very big thank you to each and every one of you. I am so grateful for your help. The media coverage and public outcry, especially the report by SaharaReporters, played a significant role in securing Caleb’s release. I cannot thank you enough.”

The incident at Bannex plaza in Abuja began as a dispute between four military police personnel and traders at the popular electronics and telecommunications market. The situation quickly escalated, culminating in the reported assault of civilians and security guards by military personnel. It is believed that the military’s actions were in retaliation for an earlier incident in which traders and soldiers clashed over a faulty phone sale.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army returned to the scene to apprehend individuals allegedly involved in the earlier assault on military officers. One of the identified persons is Enomfon Abasiono Udofia, a trader at the plaza known to frequent Caleb’s shop for goods.

Caleb Chidera’s wife spoke with reporters earlier on Tuesday, discussing the circumstances surrounding her husband’s detainment at the Mambilla Barracks in Asokoro in a phone conversation. She stated that Caleb had honored an invitation from army authorities on Monday evening in connection with his trading relationship with Enomfon Abasiono Udofia.

Since then, Caleb has reportedly been held without charges and subjected to brutal treatment by military personnel. His wife reports that relatives have been denied visitation rights, exacerbating concerns about his well-being and the due process violations he is allegedly facing.

She said, “My husband called me yesterday that his name was given out to the army saying he was among those that fought them. He said he told them that he had nothing to do with the situation.

“He was later asked to come see them which he honoured and since then they kept him at Mambilla Barracks at their duty room.

“I just gave birth through a CS (surgery) and I had to find him through his live location but they didn’t let me see him. They sent me away. Last night he texted me that they tortured him so badly and broke his foot,” she added.

“Please my husband is being held. My husband wasn’t among those who fought those soldiers but now they took him and kept him at their duty room. he’s been beaten badly… he had no connection with the whole issue. He only honoured their invite and since then, I haven’t heard from him.”, the wife said when contacted.

Michael Olasoji, the head of the Human Rights Department for the Take It Back Movement had expressed condemnation for the actions of both traders and military personnel involved in the events at Banex Plaza. While Olasoji denounced the initial assault on military officers by traders, he also criticized the subsequent retaliatory measures taken by the military, emphasizing that such actions are unjustified and violate the rule of law.

Olasoji noted that the military’s role is to protect citizens, not to engage in vigilante justice or the abuse of power. He raised concerns that the innocent traders and bystanders who bear no responsibility for the initial attack are now facing unjust treatment and detainment.

Addressing the broader context of ongoing economic hardship and public frustration, Olasoji stressed the importance of maintaining law and order, and called upon the military to exercise restraint in their interactions with civilians. He emphasized that the military must carry out their responsibilities within the bounds of the law and refrain from interfering in matters that fall under the purview of civilian authorities.

Olasoji further highlighted the need for the Nigerian police to be allowed to conduct their investigations into the Banex Plaza incident and hold any guilty parties accountable.


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