Jerry Datim, a human rights worker, has narrated how a soldier assaulted him and stole his N40,000 during Monday’s protest by local government workers in Plateau State, The PUNCH reports.
The PUNCH had reported that the LG workers had been protesting over the non-implementation of N30,000 minimum wage by the state government for the past three weeks.
Datim, a Deputy Coordinator of the Human Rights Watch and Rescue Operation in the state told The PUNCH in Jos on Tuesday that in the course of his job, he had gone to the state secretariat, where the aggrieved LG workers converged after he got wind that a joint security operation involving the police and the army deployed to the secretariat had attacked the protesting workers with tear gas.
Datim stated, “When I got there, I saw one of the workers, an old woman, who had earlier told me that she had only six months left before her retirement, being beaten by a soldier.
“The soldier beat her with an iron stick and she fell into the gutter. I moved closer to the soldier and pleaded with him not to kill the woman but the soldier turned and hit me with the rod.
“I immediately brought out my ID card and showed it to the soldier. But he collected it, broke it and threw it away and said that I am a criminal and that they are looking for my kind of person to deal with.
“At this time, another soldier, who had joined him, put his hand into my pocket and removed my N40,000 while they pushed me into one of their waiting trucks and drove away.”
The human rights worker, who said he had reported the matter to the Defence Headquarters in Abuja and the National Human Rights Commission, also narrated how he eventually regained his freedom
He said, “At the Kasua Nama Magistrate’s Court, they accused us of illegal protest against the government and blocking of federal roads in the state. We pleaded not guilty to the charges after the judge they brought asked us if we were guilty or not.”