A member representing Buruku federal constituency in Benue State Hon. Kpam Sokpo, has accused some soldiers of allegedly beating him to a pulp on the eve of Benue State Governorship and Assembly elections in a hotel in Gboko.
Sokpo, who defected to the Labour Party (LP) after his failed to secure a return on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), lost to the All Progress Congress, APC, Sekav Iortyom on February, 25.
Narrating how the incident happened, he said: “I don’t know what came over them. I came to the hotel where I was staying in Gboko, Old Barn Resort around 2:30 am, and about five trucks filled with over 60 soldiers.
“I sat there with some of my friends. When they alighted from their vehicles they just took position.
“I got up from where I was sitting to do something and one of them approached me and asked why I was walking in the manner I was walking.
” As I was talking he slapped me in the face. I asked why he did that and introduced myself as a House of Representatives member.
“I asked him that he does not know me and just slapped me in the face?
” Before I knew what was happening more than 30 soldiers just pounced on me using the butt of their guns to injured me.
“As I speak with you I have stitches on my face, on my head and I have all kinds of injuries on my body.
“While this was going on, their Commanding Officer came in and calmed the situation. Shortly after they went on to harass me and collected everything in my car including piece of papers .
“The one who started assaulting me threatened that he could even kill me. I did not get their names because they removed their name tags before assaulting me.
“Believe me, I do not know why they did this to me. I have gone to the hospital to stitch the cuts and treat myself, but I have reported the matter to the Police and the Security Adviser to the Governor of Benue State.”
According to The Nation, An eyewitness, who pleaded anonymity, said: “Yesterday, between 2am and 3am soldiers came and surrounded Old Barn, hotel and were breaking into the hotel rooms.
“They were searching room after room. They will knock on a customer’s door and when they do not open their doors to them, they forced it open.
“They eventually had an encounter with Hon Kpam Sopko, the House of Representatives (HoR) member from Buruku, who is of the Labour Party (LP). They beat him up mercilessly and left him severely injured.
“The soldiers claimed that they got intelligence report that guns and other dangerous weapons were brought into the hotel to be used to disrupt and possibly rig the election.
“The soldiers who were numbering over 30 came to the hotel in 2 armoured vehicles and a military truck.”
We also gathered that at the time the soldiers invaded the hotel, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Prof Tony Ijoho was lodged there.
Police Area commander , Gboko Command said investigation was in progress while attempt to speak to the management of the hotel failed.