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Hotel owner demands justice, accuses Army of torturing staff to death

Dr. Ihedigbo asserts that during the interrogation at the ADP base, his staff were ordered to be beaten, with Mr. James Etubi bearing the brunt of the violence

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Hotel owner demands justice, accuses Army of torturing staff to death

Dr. Steve Ihedigbo, the owner and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hotel Royale Damgrate in Umuahia, Abia State, has petitioned the Chief of Army Staff, alleging that soldiers tortured his staff to death.

The incident stems from the tragic drowning of an Air Force cadet, Chidiebere Onyemereche, at the hotel’s swimming pool last Tuesday. Dr. Ihedigbo alleges that the Army, following the incident, invited some of his staff for interrogation at their base at the Agricultural Development Project (ADP) premises in Umuahia, where they were subjected to brutal beatings.

According to Dr. Ihedigbo, his Food and Beverage Manager, Mr. James Etubi, who was engaged by the hotel on April 5, 2024, died as a result of the torture inflicted by the Army personnel. He further claims that the cadet who accompanied the deceased officer was among those who participated in the beating.

The hotel owner narrated that the deceased cadet’s father informed him that his son’s colleague denied his involvement in swimming activities, leading to confusion. Despite efforts to locate the missing cadet, including police intervention and the deployment of divers, the situation remained dire until the cadet’s body was discovered in the pool.

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Following the incident, the police arrested Dr. Ihedigbo’s manager and three other staff for questioning, subsequently releasing them on bail. Subsequently, Army personnel visited the hotel, demanding to interrogate the staff members involved in the incident.

Dr. Ihedigbo asserts that during the interrogation at the ADP base, his staff were ordered to be beaten, with Mr. James Etubi bearing the brunt of the violence. Despite being the potential key witness, Mr. Etubi succumbed to the injuries sustained during the beating.

Expressing shock and dismay over the incident, Dr. Ihedigbo emphasized the need for a thorough investigation and justice for both the deceased cadet and his staff. He vehemently denied media reports suggesting that the pool was under maintenance at the time of the incident.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Army has initiated investigations into the matter, with the Chief of Army Staff ordering a comprehensive inquiry. The Army expressed condolences to the families of the deceased and assured the public of its commitment to upholding professionalism and discipline within its ranks.

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