How to make a complaint against a Soldier in Nigeria
Firstly, we would like to state the soldiers and officers of the Nigerian Army are some of the bravest Nigerian men and women. They take an oath to protect the country with their lives if need be, and for this immense courage, they deserve our thanks and respect.
Now that being said, there are some of these people who unfortunately believe that their status as soldiers gives them some sort of unlimited power to act however they wish. This article is for those who are unfortunate to cross paths with these bad eggs. If you have a complaint about the conduct or activities of a soldier or any officer of the Nigerian Army, these are the steps you are to follow:
What can you complain about?
You can make complaints for harassment, violence and unprofessional conduct carried out by the soldiers. This includes thing like demanding bribes and extortion, soldiers being inappropriately used as debt collectors, to even more serious things like beatings, brutality and extrajudicial killing.
How to make a complaint?
Below are the steps you should follow when you want to make a complaint about the police:
Step 1 – This is the first and most important thing – DO NOT ANTAGONISE THEM. If you are upset or unhappy do not get into an argument with them, you need to ensure that your safety is paramount. Be respectful, make your point, but don’t insult or abuse a soldier. Avoid getting into an altercation with them, as the soldier might be armed, and getting into a heated exchange with an armed individual is never a good idea.
Step 2 – Do not threaten them, even if you intend to make a complaint do not use it as a threat to goad them, you are doing the same thing we have just warned you against in (1) above.
Step 3 – Take note of the soldier’s name and rank. You should be able to get this from their uniform. Also, make a note of the date, time and place of commission of the issue you are complaining about. Look out for any witnesses who might be able to corroborate your recollection of the events.
Step 4 – Write a letter detailing the nature of your complaint and what transpired. If you have witnesses to the act complained about, have the witness write a statement as well. Put all your contact information (and those of the witness if any) on the correspondence (however, if it is a sensitive issue you may decide to make the complaint anonymously). Include any additional information like pictures, videos, or documents to buttress your complaint. (Do not take pictures or videos of the soldier as it might antagonise them further. You can make the complaint with just the soldier’s name – remember your safety is paramount.)
Step 5 – Send it to the Nigerian Army Human Rights Desk
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Step 6 – Ensure you get confirmation of receipt of your complaint, if not follow up with them via their dedicated contact channels:
Phone Numbers: 08160134303 or 08161507644
If for any reason you are unable to send a complaint letter via email or you do not want to lodge an official complaint but only want to make the Nigerian Army aware of an issue, then you can just jump to step 5 and contact them to inform them.
Please note that none of the information in this article is suggesting that you should not pursue your legal rights if you have been a victim of the actions of a soldier in Nigeria. You can still use the courts to pursue your rights and to sue the soldier and the Nigerian Army.
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We hope you have found this information helpful. Please note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. It is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer.