From Ron Jacob, Jos.
A Jos based clergyman, Apostle Augustine Tongding, on Friday threatened to sue the Plateau State military Special Task Force (STF) Operation Safe Haven (OPSH) for assaulting him and breaking one of his teeth.
Tongding, who is the General Overseer of Rapture Gospel and Prayer Ministry World Wide, told newsmen in an interview in Jos, “I saw hell in the hands of military men in Ampang-West District of Mangu Local Government, Plateau.’’
The clergyman, while narrating his ordeal in the hands of the STF officers at a checkpoint in that village, described it as “very shocking’’ and “shameful’’ as he was manhandled and bled from being hit with gun butts.
He said that his ordeal began when he started evangelizing drug addicted youths in the village some of whom he claimed “God has rescued them and they have discarded the bad habit and gave their lives to Christ as changed people.’’
“This is because on the day of the incident, Tuesday July 24, 2018, the officer that first accosted me on our arrival for the evangelism on that day was so hostile to me for no just cause.
“The worst came when we were on our way back to Jos at the same check point, as two of my boys, who dropped from the car to find out what brought about a long queue we met, were detained by the officers.
“When I didn’t see them return to join me after I personally drove the car past them almost a Kilometer away from the check point, I sat in the car waiting, ’’ he said.
The man of God said while he was waiting for the boys to be released by the security operatives, “two officers took a motorcycle to where I parked and on dropping, they headed straight to me and dragged me out of the car and started beating me mercilessly.’’
According to him, he was dumb-founded at the attitude of the officers as he alleged, “they (officers) used the butt of their guns to hit at at will and anyhow, which to led my losing on of my teeth and broken nose.’
He said that if not for the Chairman of Mwaghavul Development Association (MDA) and some good Samaritans that came to his rescue, he did not know what could have been the end result such a deliberate and ungodly assault meted on his person.
According to him, “as a bonifide son of Ampang West, I tried prevailing on my people not to react to the assault and injustice meted on me in my own home town.’’
“I resolved to seek redress in law court, having contacted my lawyer on the assault, was because my effort at reporting the said officers to their leader, one Colone, the Unit sector commander, turned out an effort in futility.
“He called me a liar even when he refused to look at the broken tooth and claimed there was no smoke without fire; that probably I acted rudely or proudly to the officers.
He claimed his men were just doing their duty and should not be blamed in anyway,” he asserted.
Tongding, said that it was as a result of that encounter that he resolved to seek for redress in the law court.
“The report of the incident that happened to me also contributed to the death of sick mother, who was hypertensive,’ but all the same I give glory to God who owns our lives, ’’ he further asserted.
Contacted, Major Umar Adams, STF Spokesman, said, “I am hearing about the incident from you because such a report has not reach my table.’’
He promised to get in touch with the Unit Sector Commander to get details of the incident for a prompt reaction.