Parents of withdrawn and relegated officer cadets of Nigerian Defence Academy, NDA, Kaduna, have raised the alarm over what they described as undue, unjust and wrongful withdrawal of their children numbering 53 Officer cadets and relegation of nine others, without due process.
The parents under the aegis of Concerned Parents of Withdrawn Cadet Officers in a protest letter to the National Assembly, copy of which was made available to newsmen, said that the fundamental human rights of their children had been breached.
The parents in the letter dated addressed to the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan, through Senator Ali Ndume, urged the Senate to prevail on the NDA management to review its decision with a view to recalling the affected students.
Noting that the unjust withdrawal and relegation of the students was capable of causing more security threat, he said they were writing the Senate President to help them resolve the burning and tortuous punishment allegedly meted out on their children by NDA Commandant, Major General Jamil Sarham, which is capable of encouraging the cadets who are already trained on the use of arms into crime.
Prince Omamoke Akiri in the letter said: “On January 22, 2020, we were shocked to hear from our children, of this ugly situation, via telephone calls and messages that the Commandant had gathered them and told them of a situation, which is outside the general rules and regulations of the academy, based on the academy handbook.
“We are aware that withdrawals and relegations are usually done at the end of every academic year, when there is always a dossier review. And the last of such was in October, in line with the normal routine and practice.
“Surprisingly, the cadets were shocked to see another Dossier Review in January 2020, which is an aberration and in our view, to justify some of the wrong actions of the academy’s administration, in the past. It should be noted that some of these cadets have already done their convocations and Passing Out Parades, POP. That in effect means that the Academy does not have any right to withdraw or relegate them anymore.
“They did same to a cadet whose parents sought redress from the Senate and the Academy on noticing their errors within the system, decided to make new rules, which they now want to implement, and retrospectively too to the disadvantage of some cadets, who by all means are not supposed to be affected by such new rules.
“Most annoying is the fact that in some cases, charges for some cadets, which had been tried and found not guilty and thereby dismissed, were brought back to still count against them.”
Pleading with the Senate to help in redressing the anomaly, they said: “Another angle of the pain is that these cadets were handcuffed and put in the guardroom, for no just cause. It should also be put on record that for 36 hours, from 6.30 a.m., on January 22 and all through the night when they were brought in till 5 p.m., of the next day, when they were eventually released to their parents, they were without food. At the appropriate time, we will release the videos and photographs of their torture for the world to see.”
One of the affected cadets (names withheld) who corroborated Prince Akiri’s statement, said: “We were taken out of the NDA headquarter in handcuffs to our respective rooms to be de-kitted. That done, they took us to the guardroom, where we were locked up the whole night without food till late evening the next day when our parents came for us. They initially denied us access to telephone to enable us reach our parents and intimate them of our predicaments. ‘‘