Plateau - Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Plateau State Chapter, on Friday threatened to sue the Military Special Task Force (STF) maintaining peace in Plateau over alleged brutality against some of its members.
Mr Tobs Kekemeke, the Association’s Chairman, accused the soldiers of ``undue display of force and power`` against the common people in the Jos-Bukuru metropolis.
Kekemeke, who briefed newsmen in Jos, said five lawyers were brutalised and degraded by soldiers of STF in the afternoon of Wednesday around Gyel – D. B. Zang Junction in Bukuru.
He gave the names of the affected lawyers as Messrs Gyang Zi, Levinus Pam, Tan Peter, Jugu Tiri and Luka Pam, who were allegedly stopped and maltreated while returning from the palace of he District Head of Gyel.
``The learned officers were made to lay down on muddy ground with their suits on and hit with guns, booths, helmet, wood and sticks as if they were criminals?
``We feel this is not right and enough is enough of the maltreatment of our members. This incident is one of the many cases we had with the soldiers and we are saying not again.
``NBA will not hesitate to take legal action, if STF will not show some remorse over what its men did to our men, `` he said
The NBA chairman expressed surprise at such alleged inhuman treatment saying, ``if they could brutalise lawyers in that manner, what is the fate of the common man in the street? `` he queried.
He said in as much as NBA appreciated the presence of the military in maintaining peace in Plateau, their engagement in brutalising and maltreating innocent people would not be acceptable.
``This kind of injustice and inhuman treatment is not acceptable to us and we shall seek redress in the law court if the authorities failed to pin-point the bad eggs among them and punish them for their unruly acts.
According to him, ``this is the kind of injustice that we lawyers have been fighting against. The 1999 Constitution is still in force and not suspended, so STF should be seen to operate within the ambit of the law``.
Contacted, the STF Media Officer, Capt. Salisu Mustapha debunked the claims, saying soldiers are not mad men that would do such a thing without a reason.
``NBA should enquire from the five affected lawyers what they did before my men descended on them. Why did they use their camera to snap the operations of the soldiers on Wednesday?
``They claimed to be learned men, but what they did that day was bad, knowing fully well that we were carrying out an operation in that area, `` Mustapha said.
According to the STF spokesman, people should learn to respect military orders, so that they do not fall into the wrath of the soldiers, saying, ``we are here to ensure the security of all and not to cause any harm to anybody or group``