A widow of a soldier Mrs. Faith Omoregie has appealed to relevant authorities to intervene and prevent authorities of the Nigerian army from demolishing her late husband’s house located at Oghede community, Ovia North East local government area of Edo state.
Mrs. Omoregie whose community also host the army Barrack on Ekenmwan road claimed that her late husband house has been marked for demolition.
The widow was among dozens of women and elderly who were on a protest march to the Edo state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Benin City on Monday.
A distraught Omoregie said: “I am begging soldiers. My husband is dead. I didn’t have a child for my husband, but his family decided that I should stay in the house that he built when he was alive.
“What to eat now is a problem to me. They should leave my husband’s house alone.”
The protesters who were armed with placards of various description alleged that the army have pulled down about 100 houses in the community.
Spokesman for the protesters, Chief Felix Aghahowa, alleged that the military renewed onslaught on the community started decades ago and it has displaced women and children.
Chief Aghahowa described a purported claim by the Army that the disputed territory (land) in Oghede community had been acquired in addition to the earlier acquisition that was made over 57 years ago.
Aghahowa, accused the military of resorting to self help and deploying brute force to oppress the indigenes by “plotting to forcefully annex the community”.
According to him, “What informed the recent protest is that they (Army) are destroying our houses with bulldozers. They said that they want to live within 200 feet from the community. It is reprehensive.”
The executive director, African Network for Economic and Environmental Justice (ANEEJ), Mr. David Ugolor, accused the military of demolishing a tomb of his late sister-in-law who was buried in Oghede Community.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO), 4-Brigade, Nigerian Army, Capt. Yemi Sokoya, described the allegations against as untrue.
Sokoya said: “The land in question is army land, but community has kept selling the land to civilians. The Army took them to Court and got an order that no body should continue work on the land pending the determination of the suit.
“It is not by protesting or rushing to the media, branding the army as wicked organisation but allowing the court to do their job.”