Friday Amobi, Port Harcourt
Residents of three communities in Rivers State on Wednesday barricaded the Elele Army Barracks in protest against an alleged forceful acquisition of landed property belonging to them.
The protesters claimed the land grabbed by the Army spanned hundreds of hectares and that the development had affected farming activities.
The communities, Elele Alimini, Obelle in Emohua Local Government Area and Elele in Ikwerre LGA, alleged that the military intimidated and used force to take hectares of land meant for agricultural purposes.
They (protesters) called on President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate and the House of Representatives to intervene and compel the Army to vacate their land.
Addressing newsmen, the leader of the protest and the Chairman, Council of Chiefs of Elele Alimini, Chief Chibuike Dike, said the people of the areas were worried about the activities of the military.
Dike said, “The problem is that the army barracks in our land have abandoned our boundary and encroached on our land.
“They are not meant to take our land by force. If they need land, they should negotiate with the people. They have taken over 500 hectares of land. That place is our farmland. We want them to leave our land.
“What they have done is affecting the farming activities of our people. We do not have any other place to do our farm work. Let them take the area we gave to them and leave the other side.
The leader of the protesters, however, said that the host communities would not rest in their agitation until justice was done on the matter.
Efforts made to reach the Assistant Public Relations Officer of the 6 Division of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt, Lt. Olayemi Shokoya, were futile. Calls and a text message to Shokoya’s mobile phone were not answered or replied. (Punchng.com)