Soldier shot me, police chained me to hospital bed ― Enugu man

Abraham Ani, who is from Ezza in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, was recently shot in the leg by a soldier during a clash between the army and the Indigenous People of Biafra in Enugu. Ani is shackled to a hospital bed where he is receiving treatment. He insists in this interview that he was on his way to church when he was shot.

Soldier shot me, police chained me to hospital bed ― Enugu man
Abraham Ani. PHOTO credit: Punch

A report said you were shot by a soldier in front of your house on August 23, 2020. What led to it?

I live around Emene in Enugu East Local Government Area of Enugu state. I was going to church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Emene, that fateful morning.

I was getting to the main road when I saw some people coming back from church. I asked one person among them what was happening and he said some people went to the church during 5:30 am Mass and said they should be dismissed.

He said the reverend father told everyone to return home. So, I turned back to return to my house.

While I was walking towards my house, I saw some people running towards me and when I looked back, I saw a soldier running after them.

The soldier was shooting at them, so I hid behind a vehicle parked near my house as the shooting went on in the neighbourhood

Then the soldier came to where I hid and said I should come out. Then he started dragging me.

So I asked what offence I committed or if it was a crime for me to hide while they were shooting in the neighbourhood.

I started begging him to look at me as I was dressed for church and that I was told on my way to return home because the officiating priest had dismissed the congregation.

But he was shouting at me and his colleague arrived and told him to let me go. Then he shot me in the leg.

Who were those running from the soldiers?

I learnt they were residents who were watching and videoing what they were doing at the main road. 

What happened afterwards?

The gunshot drew the attention of the people in the neighbourhood and when they saw me in a pool of blood, they started shouting. They took me to a nearby hospital.

Were you aware that there was a clash between the Indigenous People of Biafra and security agents at Community High School, Emene that morning?       

I didn’t know about it. If I knew about it, I would have stayed in my house and prayed to my God there. There was no gunshot when I left home; it was later when I was in the hospital that gunshots were being fired indiscriminately. It was as if a war was going on.

Can you recognise the soldier that shot you?

No, but from his ascent, I know he was Hausa.

Did you report the incident to the police?

I was in the hospital when some soldiers and policemen came to look for me. They saw as the doctor was dressing the wound.

They apologised to me and said what happened was ‘temptation’ and they left. Later in the evening, another set of policemen came; they asked me questions about how it happened and I explained what happened.

I showed them the ID card given to me at Emenite where I work. They sympathised with me, said it was an accident and left.

What type of work do you do at Emenite?

I work in the production unit. We produce all kinds of roofing sheets.

So how did you get to the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Enugu?

I was at the hospital in Emene from August 23 till 26, when the doctor there referred me to the orthopaedic hospital.

He told me that the bullet shattered my bone and that he could not treat me in his hospital. So on August 26, other policemen from Emene came and told me that they wanted to take me to the orthopaedic hospital.

I asked them why and told them I would not follow them if my relation would not join us. I called one of my brothers who came and joined me in their vehicle.

They took me to the state Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department instead of the orthopaedic hospital.

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And while I was in their vehicle, one policeman called Henry and his colleague went to the office of the police commissioner, Ahmad Abdurrahman.

I don’t know what they discussed but he came back and told me that my God was with me, otherwise, they would have ‘wasted’ me.

He said I should thank God when I get better. I told him God is my father and he is alive. I said I would never involve myself in crime and criminality.

It was then they took me to the orthopaedic hospital. I was excited so I gave them some money and we exchanged phone numbers.

However, the following morning, the one called Henry returned and cuffed my leg to the hospital bed.

I asked him what the problem was and he said the commissioner ordered him to do so while they investigated the case.

He came when I called to tell him the hospital wanted to operate on my leg and after the surgery, he cuffed me to the bed again.

Who pays for your medical treatment?

I am the one paying the medical bills. I told you that after a discussion with the police commissioner, those policemen told me they would have wasted me and that I should give thanks to God.

How many people do you know that have been killed after the incident? I have been paying for the surgeries that have been performed on my leg so far.

Right now, I don’t have money to pay for another surgery. My wound is still open and I don’t even have money to buy drugs now.

I just cry day and night for help. I eat because the hospital provides food for me and adds the cost to my bill.

Since the police said they were investigating the incident, have they taken your statement?

The day the policeman said to be the investigating police officer chained me to the bed – August 26, he said he would come the following day to take my statement, but he has yet to do so. He has only visited the hospital three times since August 26. Those three times, I was the one who called him. He came when the hospital wanted to operate on the leg and removed the cuffs. He put them back after the operation. The second time was when he came to collect the phone number of my boss and the third time was when I was moved from the emergency unit to the ward.

What is your demand?

I want the police to remove the cuffs on my leg because I am innocent and they should take care of me until I get better. I am not a criminal or a member of any organisation.

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Punch Newspaper

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