The remains of Lance Corporal Benjamin Collins have been laid to rest by the Nigerian Army. The deceased was reportedly tortured to death by three senior officers at the Mogadishu Barracks, Abuja, in 2017.
The funeral was conducted in the regular military tradition, with the deceased accorded full military honours at the Guards Brigade cemetery, along Kubwa Expressway, Abuja. In attendance at the funeral were the representatives of the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. T.Y. Buratai, the deceased’s wife, mother, uncle, colleagues and his lawyer, Oyewole. The national flag was presented to the deceased’s mother by Lt. Col. S. Shuaibu on behalf of the president.
It will be recalled that a general court martial (GCM) had in February sentenced Majors Akeem Oseni, Ogbemudia Osawe and Second Lt. Nuhu Dogary to ten years’ imprisonment for torturing the late Collins to death. The GCM was composed of the President, Brig. Gen. G. Umelo; Brig. Gen. S. Aliyu; Brig. Gen. A. Edet; Brig. Gen. N. Mohammed and Colonels K. Ndamadu, T. Agbor, and I. Tanko.
The convicted officers moved Collins from a guardroom at Mogadishu Barracks to a bush near the Ihejirika Quarters along the Abuja Nyanya Expressway where he was allegedly tortured while in handcuffs and leg chains. This led to his death and his corpse was subsequently deposited in Asokoro General Hospital mortuary.
After the incident, the officers reported to their superiors that Collins, who had been held for over two years for travelling to Lagos to see his sick aunt without official permission, had escaped from custody. It took the tireless efforts of the deceased’s family lawyer, members of the public and the support of the COAS to establish the truth.