November 20, 2008

Victim of naval ratings’ assault back in hospital

Miss Uzoma Okere, the lady assaulted by six naval ratings recently in Lagos, is back in hospital over complaints of lumbar pains.

Her father, Col. Emeka Okere (rtd) told our correspondent on Wednesday that Uzoma had complained of spinal problem even though she was still receiving treatment for the injuries she suffered from the beating by the naval ratings.

Okere said Uzoma had the problems some time last year, but was treated by Dr. Felix Ogedengbe of the National Hospital, Abuja.

He said, “When she had the problem, she was treated by Ogedengbe early this year, but she seems to have relapsed into the problem after the beating.”

Okere added that Uzoma would begin treatment at the National Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Ogedengbe.

He said the intervention of the Lagos State Governor Mr. Babatunde Fashola, had given him some relief, but the new development was raising some concerns for his family.

Okere had earlier petitioned the Senate committees on Navy and defence for action to be taken against those involved in the maltreatment of her daughter.

While awaiting the action of the Senate committees, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello brought a motion before the Senate, complaining about her assault and that of Uzoma.

The military authorities have instituted a probe into the action of the naval ratings to redeem the image of the Nigerian Navy.

Meanwhile, the Oodua People‘s Congress has promised to render assistance Uzoma.

The Founder of the group, Dr. Fredrick Fasheun, said this at a press conference in Lagos on Wednesday.

Fasheun said the group‘s intervention in the case became imperative because of its belief that “injury to one is injury to all.”

He described as disgraceful to the military for their personnel to assault defenceless civilians, moreso a harmless lady.

Fasehun noted that the assault came at a time of worldwide condemnation of America troops’ excesses against prisoners of war and some civilians in Iraq and the Guatemala Bay.

He urged all Nigerians to support Okere by storming the court during hearings to show solidarity for the victim.

He said, “It will be very much in order to use these offensive naval ratings as scapegoats to curtail this unending harassment that uniformed men unleash against civilians. It is a shame that the military would defend this perfidy.”

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