By: Richard F. Inoyo.
On the 27th December, 2020, in Calabar, a naval officer, Victor Owonam (rank, Able Seaman) led his sister (who happened to be a naval officer too) and 8 military personnel to the residence of Mrs. Esther Bassey ( an aged widow with three daughters and a son), gave this helpless family the harshest and most violent humiliation of their lives, after cowardly beating and severally torturing the aged widow and her kids for hours.
On the same day at about 10pm, unsatisfied with the first robust beatings given to Mrs. Esther and her family; naval officer, Victor Owonam returned with his military colleagues to Mrs. Esther Residence, pulled down the burglary of her house, dragged her and her kids out, before they could dress up, ran them into a vehicle belonging to Operation Akpakwu ( a new Security outfit in Cross River State) and took them to Bogobiri and began beating this family again.
They humiliated them, urinated on them after severe beatings, continued till about 3am the next day at the dead of the night before they were asked to leave in excruciating pains and humiliation. One wonders if we are in 21st Century or some barbaric 4th Century where humans were treated as animals.
The entire Civilian Population Council and Elderly Panel of Citizens’ Solution Network is in receipt of this dossier of high-level and despicable atrocity orchestrated by Naval officer, Victor Owonam and his sister and the 8 other military personnel who committed this horrible act against a defenceless aged widow and her kids.
Today, in solidarity with Mrs. Esther, her kids, 39 other Civic Right Organisations, Cross Riverians and all well meaning Nigerians worldwide, we are demanding justice for the family and calling on the Chief of Naval Staff of the Nigerian Navy to recall, arrest, trial and dismiss Victor Owonam, his sister, and the other 8 military personnel who cowardly inflicted such high-level form of torture on the aged widow and her three daughters and son.
We condemn this terrible act in the strongest terms, and equally demand that the Chief Security Officer of Operation Akpakwu_ His Excellency, Ben Ayade, Governor, Cross River State to stand up and ensure this case doesn’t get swept under the rug.
We equally call on the highest echelon of the Nigerian Navy to ensure due compensation and apology is handed to the family of Mrs. Esther Bassey besides the dismissal of all the indicted officers.
A country where men on naval uniforms will abuse their privileges and mercilessly beat defenceless widow and ladies sends a dangerous and disgraceful message to both the Nigerian Navy and international community, hence the need to offer justice to these victims of naval brutality, so as to serve as deterrent to other erring uniform men.
Let it be on public registry, that is in the interest of the Nigerian Navy that justice prevails in this case and that Widow Esther Bassey gets justice for all the unjust injuries inflicted on her and her children by the aforementioned officers involved.
Richard F Inoyo,
Citizens’ Solution Network
For Civilian Population Council And Elderly Panel.
Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ekwe Ibas ( Chief of Naval Staff)
H.E Barr. Ben Ayade ( Governor, Cross River State and Chief Security Officer, Operation Akpakwu)