By Dennis Agbo
The Okpanku Community in Aninri local government area of Enugu state has petitioned the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff, Major General Ibrahim Attahiru, lamenting illegal use of soldiers to harass, intimidate and abduct its citizens in a bid to annex the community’s land because of its rich mineral deposits.
The community in the petition made available to Vanguard recounted the recent episode of January 14, 2021, where two of its citizens were shot by the soldiers allegedly dispatched and an unfortunate Mr Ifeanyi Nwezi Chukwu was demobilized and abducted to Ebonyi state by the soldiers.
Ebonyi state commissioner for Information, Uchenna Orji, however, said that there was no abduction order by the state government and described it as a heinous allegation.
“What the Governor of Ebonyi state is doing is to create a legacy of road construction that will be mutually beneficial to these communities that have the same dialect,” Orji said.
“The activities of these soldiers have completely grounded the economy and wellbeing of our clients who are predominately farmers. Our clients are afraid of going to their farms for fear of ever-present military men. We wish to put it on record that it appears your men are being used unlawfully to achieve expansionist ideas. We sincerely call on you to resist what is clearly illegal.
“Sometime in 2019, H.E Governor Dave Umahi commenced road construction passing deep into Enugu state territorial boundary. It is doubtful that any understanding was reached with the authority in Enugu state. On a similar note, military personnel from Abakaliki in Ebonyi state are deployed at Agu-Ugwu Mpu in Aninri local government area of Enugu State.
“The use of military personnel was also profoundly witnessed during the lockdown to arrest motorcyclists operating in Aniniri local government area. Most of the motorcycles impounded with the army personnel were taken to Abakaliki and are yet to be recovered,” Okpanku people alleged.