Woman miscarries after brutal beating by Naval ratings

Posted September 6, 2011 from Nigeria

A newspaper report says an official of the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Mrs. Obase Mordi, lost her six-week-old pregnancy after she was beaten by naval ratings. She alleged she was beaten by about six operatives of the Nigerian Navy in Calabar, the Cross River State capital, on August 27, 2011. Mordi said that she was handcuffed with her brother, Essien Ewa, dragged on the ground and thrown into a patrol van. The woman just got back from Gold Cross Hospital, Ikoyi, where she had gone for medical treatment as a result of the beating she received. Crying profusely, she revealed a document given to her from the hospital. The result showed she had lost her six-week-old pregnancy. Mordi went to Calabar to attend her brother’s “marriage traditional introduction”. “I boarded the bus with a naval officer’s wife, who told me her name was Zainab. I don’t know her husband’s name though. Somehow, she mistakenly took my luggage with her and put it in her husband’s waiting car when she got to her destination. I still don’t understand how that happened because she was standing there while the driver was removing the bag. “When I later noticed that my own bag was missing, I knew it would have to be the woman who took the luggage because she was the only one that got down before I reached my own destination. So, I went to the Naval Barracks on Calabar Road, where I discovered she lives, to claim the luggage,” she explained. Mordi said when she got to the gate of the barracks; a naval rating asked what she was there for and she explained. She said during the course of their conversation, another man who claimed he was the first rating’s superior came and enquired what she wanted. She said, “The first man was quite polite. I gave him the woman’s description and as he was asking me some questions to help him locate the woman, the second man came and shouted at the other man to get inside. I explained my problem to the new man, but he asked if that was why I was disturbing them. He was shouting at me demanding to know why I had the audacity to come to the barracks and also parked the car I brought at the gate. “I pleaded with him, telling him that he should at least be civil to me because I am a woman. I told him that he should know there was something called SERVICOM which demands civility from government officials in the line of duty.” Mordi recalled that as she asked the driver to move the car aside, the man walked out on them. She said she followed him into the security post by the gate and pleaded with him to help her. “He started shouting at me, saying I was teaching him his job and quoting laws. He was so angry. I later begged him to allow me to go inside and look for someone who could help me. He told me I dared not go beyond where I was.” Mordi said when she got frustrated and was not getting anywhere with the man, she made a move to approach someone she saw in the distance for help. The rating then pushed her to the ground. When Mordi got up again, the rating pushed her the second time. According to her, she later got to take the man’s picture which revealed the name tag; Bassey P.L, on his uniform. She said Bassey started slapping her and then gave her a serious beating. Mordi’s brother who was present during the scuffle tried to hold Bassey’s wrist pleading with him to stop. He turned on the brother too and started beating him. Mordi said about five other ratings joined in because they said it was an insult for a woman to fight a military man. “The six of them took pleasure in turning us to their punching bag. I never imagined I could be beaten like that in my life. They said they would kill us and nobody would know. “When I saw that the beating was getting too much, I told them that I was pregnant. But instead of getting reprieve, one of them hit me in the stomach with the butt of a gun. I immediately change my story that my brother was a sickle cell patient, thinking that they will fear to kill him, but the beating increased; they started stepping on his ribs. “As they beat him, he begged and told them that I am an official of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission. They increased my beating because of that,” she said. After the naval operatives finished beating the duo, they handcuffed them together and asked them to sit on the ground. Mordi said, “The shirt I was wearing had been torn during the beating and I made effort to cover my chest. One of the ratings then came over and touched my breasts and said, ‘What are you hiding them for?’ They later dragged us on the ground to a pickup van marked Mesa 15.” The naval personnel then took the two victims to Akim Police Station, and ordered the policemen at the station to lock them up. “When we got to the station I begged them to remove the handcuff but as a policeman made an attempt to remove it, the naval officer shouted at him not to do so. By that time, I was already bleeding seriously and I knew at that point something must be wrong with my pregnancy,” Mordi said. She said she was later asked to write a statement and afterwards the Divisional Police Officer at the station released them and advised that they visit the Police Hospital for treatment. According to her, she declined and went to a private hospital to get first aid treatment and came back to Lagos to get proper treatment the following day. She said the doctors in the Lagos hospital ran series of tests on her and Ewa. The report of the pregnancy test indicated that she had lost it. When contacted the Public Relations Officer of the state Naval Command, Lt. Cmdr. Way Olabisi, he said he was not aware of the incident. “But if she was actually beaten by naval personnel, she should have reported to one of the naval offices nearby. We have NNS Victory very close to the barrack. We even have the naval base nearby. The best time to report would have been immediately the incident occurred. Nevertheless, I would make findings about it,” Olabisi said. However, spokesman of the EFCC, Mr. Femi Babafemi, neither picked the calls made to him nor replied text messages sent to his telephone.

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