According to an exclusive reports by SaharaReporters, some Nigerian soldiers have caused serious panic in Enugu.
They allegedly invaded the Enugu residence of a retired army officer, Emeka Ugwuoke and evicted his family.
SaharaReporters gathered that the soldiers allegedly assaulted his wife and children in the process.
The soldiers were reportedly about 40 in number and from the 82 Division Enugu. They allegedly stormed the residence of the retired officer at 1:15 am on Wednesday.
The soldiers suspected to be acting on orders of the General Officer Commanding, GOC, Nigeria Army, 82 Division, Enugu, Major General, Aminu Chinade reportedly destroyed the family’s belongings.
Addressing journalists, Colonel Ugwuoke (retd.) disclosed that the property had been monetised to him by its owner, 'Enugu state government', adding that he has the necessary papers but the GOC refused to attend to him concerning the acquisition of the property.
Regretting the incident, Ugwuoke said the soldiers invaded his home when he was not around, manhandled and threw out his family at an ungodly hour of the night.
He said, "Sometime 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 was drawn to politics only. When the new governor came, he said I should hold on, and that there were a series of committees to verify those things, which eventually ended and I was given papers for the apartment.
"My colleagues understood until 2020 when a certain GOC came around and told me that he wanted to use the place as a guest house, and now 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 2022 when the GOC sent 20 soldiers to my house to come and remove my things but after some intervention from senior colleagues, they left. On March 15, 2023, they wrote to me and asked me to pack out within two weeks, despite presenting the papers and approvals from the state to them.
"As I travelled to the village for burial yesterday, April 11, by 1:15 am this morning, April 12, 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 tried 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 2:00 am and two female soldiers beat her up on her arrival, dragging her to go out of the compound.
"I tried to call them to know the problems. I have written to the Chief of Army Staff and I have not gotten a 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 property. You can see the air conditioner, television, everything destroyed and they came and kept it here on the street, two kilometres away from my house.”
When asked if he had reached out to the state government regarding the claims made by the army, he said the state government was surprised at the claims made by the army when he reported the situation to it.
He said, "I have a paper to show where Nigerian Army acknowledged that the property belonged to state government, written by the 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 the state government and that it has been monetised to him by the state government.
Efforts to get the reaction of the GOC were unsuccessful as the Assistant Army Public Relations Major Jonathan Unuakhalu did not answer repeated calls from SaharaReporters or reply to a text message sent to him.