The Army has come out to clarify why its men invaded a property belonging to former president Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin in Abuja.
Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan
The Nigerian Army has given reason why it illegally invaded the premises of Kakarta Civil Engineering Limited, a company belonging to Mr. Rober Azibaola, a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan on Saturday.
The Army Headquarters Garrison, Mogadishu Cantonment, Abuja, took over the premises and forced workers out of the company located along the Kubwa/Asokoro Expressway on Saturday. The company shares boundary with the Luigi Barracks of the Nigerian Army.
Speaking on the invasion, the Acting Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman said the Army decided to take over the property because the service did not want any further encroachment on the property.
“The said property is on Nigerian Army’s land and the Army will not allow anybody to encroach on its land.
“Consequently, the property has to be sealed to prevent further encroachment,” he stated.
However, the sudden show of force has been brutally condemned by Lagos-based lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), who warned that if things are not checked, things might soon get out of hand. He called on President Muhammadu Buhari, to caution the Nigerian Army for alleged arbitrary use of its powers and use of brute force on innocent citizens.
He said, “Sequel to the illegal action of the Army of occupation, the innocent workers in the company have been sent to the unemployment market. Although the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has charged Mr. Azibaola to court for alleged criminal diversion of $40m from the office of the National Security Adviser, he pleaded not guilty to the charge and has been granted bail.
“The implication of the plea is that he is presumed innocent until the contrary is proved by the prosecution.
“Therefore, if the Nigerian military authorities had wanted to dispossess him of the property in question, they ought to have applied for a court order. But by taking over the property under the pretext that it constitutes a threat to a nearby military barracks, the military authorities took the law into their hands.
“The forceful seizure of the property should not be tolerated in a civilised society which operates under the rule of law.”
However, many have wondered why the Nigerian Army woke up now to realize that the property belonged to the army. Some have suggested that the action against the former President’s cousin might be politically motivated