Ben Ezechime, Enugu
Soldiers from the 82 Division, Nigerian Army, Enugu in the early hours of Wednesday stormed a Retired Colonel’s House, Col. Emeka Ugwuoke, and ejected him out of his apartment at an Estate in Trans Ekulu, area of Enugu State.
It was learnt that the heavily armed soldiers invaded the house at about 1:15am on Wednesday and rough handled the wife and the children before throwing them out of the apartment without a court injunction.
The troops suspected to be acting on directives of General Officer Commanding, GOC, Nigeria Army, 82 Dvision, Enugu, Major General, Aminu Chinade, destroyed the properties and threw them along the street, 2km away from the house.
Addressing journalists, Retired Colonel Ugwuoke, said that the property was monetised to him by the owner of the property, the Enugu State Government, adding that he had the papers but the GOC refused to attend to him concerning the acquisition of the property.
He regretted that soldiers invaded his home when he was not around, manhandled and threw away his family at ugly hour of the night, 1:15am on Wednesday.
He said: “Sometimes in 2008, the Enugu state government wanted to take over the state property that Nigerian Army personnel were occupying and I am living in one of them.
“I wanted to benefit from it and the division said I should meet my state so that if they give me, that’s okay.
“I wrote several applications to the state government and in 2013, the then governor, Sullivan Chime approved my application.
“I couldn’t further the process because I was away until 2015 and that was in a critical period when attention is drawn to politics only.
“When the new governor came, he said I should hold on, that there are series of committees to verify those things, which eventually ended and I was given papers to the apartment.
“My colleagues understood until 2020 when a certain GOC came around and told me that he wants to use the place as guest house, and started claiming that it belonged to the Federal Government but the matter was addressed and he left it.
“He set up a series of committees that said the property belonged to the Federal Government but we know he was influencing them.
“Nothing was heard again until November last year when GOC sent 20 soldiers to my house to come and remove my things but after some intervention from senior colleagues they left.
“In March 15, 2023, they wrote me and asked me to pack out within 2 weeks, despite my presentation of papers and approvals from the state.
“As I travelled to the village for burial yesterday, 11th of April, by 1:15am this morning, 12th of April, my daughter called me because my wife was not around, she was in the hospital and my daughter said that about 40 soldiers invaded our house and trying to forcefully open the door before my house help opened the door. They were harassing and beating my children telling them to park their things.
“They started packing my things outside, you can see them here before my wife drove from the hospital around 2:00am and two female soldiers beat her up on her arrival dragging her to go out of the compound.
“I tried to make call to them to know the problems, I have written to Chief of Army Staff and I have not gotten response. Why are you invading my house and nobody is ready to listen to me. I came down to Enugu from Nsukka this morning to the greatest surprise of my life, soldiers invaded my house and destroyed my properties, you can see the air conditioner, television, everything destroyed and they came and kept it here on the street, 2km away from my house,” he lamented.
When asked if he had reached the state government over the Nigerian Army claims, he said the state government was surprised at the claims by Nigerian Army when he reported the situation to them.
“I have a paper to show where Nigerian Army acknowledged that the property belonged to the state government, written by Army itself and signed by one Major general on behalf of Chief of Army Staff.”
He, however, pleaded with the Chief of Army staff to intervene and show that the place belongs to State Government and that it has been monetised to him by the State Government.