Air Force acquits officer who slapped medical doctor in Port Harcourt

Nigerian Air Force has acquitted an aircraftman, Ibrahim SA, who allegedly slapped a Port Harcourt-based doctor, Avwebo Otoide, in May for lack of proof.

The summary military trial of the Air Force on Friday, however, reprimanded Bass MO, a flight sergeant, who was the leader of the patrol team when Mrs Otoide was assaulted.

Ibikunle Daramola, the public relations officer of the Airforce said on Wednesday that: “The personnel who were found culpable in line with the extant law were tried and were awarded a punishment of reprimand, in line with the armed forces law,”.

Rivers State branch of the NMA had posted on Facebook that it was present at the summary trial of two Nigerian Airforce officers.

The post signed by Dr Irene Obuzor, its PRO, said the officers were charged for “conduct prejudicial to good order and service discipline and were tried summarily in accordance with Armed Forces Act CAP A20 as amended” after they assaulted the doctor during the statewide covid-19 lockdown.

Mrs Otoide said she was en route to work as an essential worker when the soldiers disembarked from their vehicle, stopped and wrestled her, slapped her, smashed her phone in the process before detaining her in an isolation centre.

She said that despite showing the officers her identity card as a senior registrar at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, they still arrested and harassed her.

She later petitioned the Airforce through Rivers Branch of the NMA, forcing the Airforce to admit it would investigate it and punish the accused as due.