The Nigeria Army, on Monday, dismissed a rumour that its personnel were intimidating and harassing property owners and villagers within the length and breath of Maxwell Khobe Cantonment Rukuba Barracks in Bassa Local Government Area, Plateau State.
According to Col. Ogunsanya spokesperson 3Division Nigeria Army, said that the Army was only ensuring that property owners did not construct further structures close to the barracks.
A letter dated 22nd February, 2016, titled: “Observation on breach of security within the vicinity of Maxwell Khobe Cantonment”, addressed to the Chairman of Bassa LGC and signed by Col. O.D. Williams for acting General Officer Commanding and made available to Daily Times in Jos, the military said that:
“In view of the above, I am directed to humbly request you to instruct the owners of those houses and shops to immediately stop further construction of their structures in view of the proximity to the Cantonment, more so, this could further be used by Boko Haram terrorists and other miscreants as a base to spring attacks on the Cantonment.”
The 3 Division further added that, “Accordingly, any person seen within those structures will be view as a criminal element and ardent supporters of extremists and will be arrested and prosecuted.”
In the same vein, in a letter also from the office of the Executive Chairman of Bassa LGC and address to the General Officer Commanding, 3 Division, Nigeria Army, Maxwell Khobe Cantonment Rukuba Barracks date 4th April, 2016 with reference BLG/LAN/TP/F/1 titled “Re: Observation on breach of security within the vicinity of Maxwell Khobe Cantonment, it said.
“That ensuring the security of lives and properties is a collective responsibility which is paramount to the council.”
According to the letter which was signed by Hon. Joseph Adi Agun on behalf of the Management Committee Chairman of Bassa LGC further added that as a council, they were duty bound to creating a peaceful and enabling environment where both civilians and military would harmoniously co-exist.
Bassa Council pointed out that the council being a third tier of government was saddled with the statutory responsibility of administering all lands within its jurisdiction in accordance with Nigerian constitution.
According to the local government, those that it knew within the vicinity of the barracks were Fulani herdsmen who were resident and rearing there, which was why a buffer zone should have been created within the area of jurisdiction, and not outside, stressing that environmental impact analysis of the cantonment should have taken cognisance of eventualities during construction.
Earlier, one Mrs. Rita Akisonhad told our correspondent that times without number, men from 3 Armoured Division Nigeria army Maxwell Khobe Cantonment invaded her block industry with gun and ordered her to stop work because it was situated close to the barracks.