Junior Naval Officer flogged and forced me to swim inside the gutter, I need justice
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Mr Justus Jim-Halliday, a 29-year-old entrepreneur is pained and has narrated his ordeal with some Naval Ratings (these are junior enlisted members of the navy) in Bonny Island, Rivers State to Punch Metro.
According to Justus, it all happened on the 22nd of June, 2020 when he stepped out of his residence to collect a phone charger from a friend in the same neighbourhood.
As he got to the junction, he saw some naval officers afar and went back home to get his mask because there was a lockdown due to the novel Covid-19 pandemic.
On getting to the junction a second time, he approached them and was asked where he was going which he told them that he wanted to collect a phone charger from his friend in the same vicinity.
One of the junior officers he was talking to laughed and said his mission wasn’t part of the essential services stipulated by the state.
He was still standing there and not budging.
According to him, another officer came from behind and asked him to hold a pillar that was before him which he ignored because he felt he did not deserve to be asked to hold any pillar.
In anger for disobeying a direct order, the junior officer behind him used a horsewhip to flog his ear.
In agony, he turned to the direction of the pain and realized that the officer wanted to flog him a second time which made him hold the hand of the officer, an act which angered the two other officers who were on standby.
They mobbed him, pinned him to the ground, one of them even cocked his gun and threatened to shoot me, he said.
He was handcuffed, taken to a stagnant water also known as gutter water and was asked to swim in it and even asked to lick it with his tongue.
According to Justus, he was inside the gutter from 3 pm to 6 pm and was later released.
However, in reaction to the accusations of Justus, Sub-Lieutenant Oluwatosin Omole, who is the spokesperson for the Nigerian Navy, Bonny Island gave a different account of what happened to Mr Justus Jim-Halliday.
The spokesperson asserted that Justus came out without a face mask and was asked to return home but he did not comply which made the junior officers flog him in accord with the Rivers State government directive.
It was also alleged that Justus used his fingernails to injure one of the junior officers in his attempt to snatch the whip that was used to discipline him which made them punish him.
In conclusion, the spokesperson made it clear that all that Justus alleged never happened.
Now that we have heard from both sides, who are we to believe? The aggrieved Justus or the naval officers?
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