By Kelvin Ohoror
Nigerian Army and Aladja community in Delta state are at loggerhead, as the community leadership accused soldiers deployed to restore peace in their community of harassment, intimidation, and torture of innocent citizens over the aged long boundary adjustment crisis between Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh communities in Delta state.
The Aladja community had threatened that if the Harassment and torture of innocent and law-abiding citizens in their community does not stop, they would be compelled to engage Army and Police authorities in a legal and media war.
The Aladja community in a statement signed by Comrade Kingsley Kpadamrophe on behalf of Aladja community alleged that soldiers and policemen deployed to restore peace in Aladja are maltreating them against the purpose they were deployed.
The Aladja community noted that the harrrassment and torture of innocent citizens is not peculiar to the their community alone. They said that same thing is applicable to Ogbe-Ijoh as it has been reported that soldiers are torturing innocent citizens as well.
” We are calling on the military and Police authorities to caution their men and advise them to stick to maintaining law and order and not try to make matters worse for the already traumatized citizens. Our call is not to withdraw security personnels, but to caution them to be professional in the discharge of their assignment” The statement said.
The community also emphasized that the presence of soldiers in both community is a good security measure, but the soldiers and policemen should stay by the rules of crisis management and not to make life worse for the people already suffering over age-longed crisis of land dispute..
Aladja community threatened to engage the army and police in legal battle, if further harrasment and torture of innocent citizens continue in their community.
” Any more unruly acts from them will push us to take legal actions against the military and police authorities. And to also declare media war on them” He said.
However, the Nigerian Army (NA) through its spokesperson Brigadier Onyema Nwanchukwu, absolved soldiers of any wrong doing.
While responding to the Trumpet News investigation, the spokesperson described the allegation as lies carefully packed together to mislead the public.
Brigadier Nwanchukwu said, ” We have been alerted of an allegation of high-handedness, maltreatment and overbearing of our troops deployed at Aladja Community in Delta State on 21 November 2021.
“Considering the lack of credibility of the allegation, it is instructive to put the records straight. Contrary to the allegation, a distress call was received by troops, alleging that some unknown persons purported to be natives of Ogbe- Ijoh were said to be on a mission to attack the Aladja Community. Troops mobilized and swiftly responded to the distress call. On sighting soldiers, the hoodlums opened fire and the troops responded, and thereafter harboured at Ogbe Ijoh community.
“In a follow up operation conducted, leaders of the two restive communities were arrested and handed over to the Nigeria Police Force for possible mediation. This yielded positive result, as normalcy was restored to the troubled communities. We therefore, urge members of both communities to sheath their swords and allow peace to reign.
According to him, “Troops in Aladja community and Ogbe-Ijoh community are being professional in their activities to return the crisis communities in Delta state to normalcy and enjoy peace”.
“The Nigeria Army wishes to reassure the general public, particularly the good people of Delta State, that it remains a professional force that conducts its operations in tandem with global best practice of adhering to the rules of engagement in internal security operations. They are enjoined to continue to support troops to get rid of criminal elements in their domain” the Army spokesman said.