The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has been accused of abandoning a young boy in the course of being treated for gunshot wounds, after an accidental discharge by men of the Benue State Command. Seventeen-year-old Godwin Agada was shot in Otukpa during a civil unrest in the area.
The victim’s uncle, Samuel Agada, sought the refund of over 100,000 Naira in medical bills from the NSCDC Command, failure of which the family would take legal action.
“I want the Civil Defence to take responsibility for their action. As security operatives, their duty is to protect lives and not terminate lives. “These are receipts of X-rays, drugs and admission cost covering the whole month we spent at the hospital,” Mr Agada said.
Reacting to the allegation, the Benue State Commandant of NSCDC, Jibril Shuayb, denied the shooting by his men.
Instead, he accused Otukpa youths of beating up NSCDC operatives and inflicting injuries on them.
“Yes there was a case involving my men trying to disperse youths who had blocked the Federal Highway in Otukpa and when my men tried to contain the unrest, they began resisting, prompting one of my men to shoot into the air just to scare them away, but the youths attacked one of them and tried to snatch his service rifle and you know what that means for a security organisation like ours.
“It is not true my men shot the young man because the youths were carrying dangerous weapons such as cutlasses, knives and bottles which they used to attack and inflict injuries on one of my men,” he said.
However, the victim’s family refuted the account of the NSCDC Commandant, blaming the incident on alcohol and lack of professional restraint in addressing issues.
“It is not true that my nephew was part of the youths during the protest in Otukpa. He was some distance away while going to pick his mobile phone battery from where he was charging it.
“The NSCDC operatives were drunk and that is what they do when they come to Otukpa, because there is plenty palm wine there. The youths were not carrying guns either,” Agada stated.
Meanwhile, the NSCDC Boss advised youths in the area to avoid acts capable of breaching the peace, noting that the Corps took care of the victim’s medical bills despite the unwarranted attacks.
“My Area Commander took the victim to the hospital after one honourable member who ran into them during the crisis helped evacuate my men who were injured to the hospital. “The records are there that we paid 38,000 Naira as medical bills for the victim before he was transferred to Makurdi. Our aim was to help save his life as security agency,” Mr Shuayb said.
Although Agada confirmed that the NSCDC settled some medical bills, but he said there were some outstanding bills to be cleared.
“Yes, but part of that bill still remains to be paid and the hospital has been calling me to come and pay them. “I had requested that the victim be transferred to the Federal Medical Centre for proper treatment, because it was clear the local hospital could not handle the sensitive nature of the injury my nephew sustained,” the victim’s uncle said.