Army, residents battle over disputed property’

82 Division of the Nigerian Army (NA) has taken over a disputed property in Enugu State, which it said rightfully belong to the military.

Director, Army Public Relations, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu said this on Wednesday while responding to a viral petition written by the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network.

The group had accused the Army of threatening to forcefully and unlawfully take over a property situated at Plot 30, Abakaliki Road, Enugu, which includes No. 7 Abakaliki Lane in the Government Residential Area (GRA) in the State.

He clarified that it did not confiscate any resident’s property, which it insisted belongs to the Nigeria Army, ready to present evidence of ownership to the competent authorities and support a thorough investigation towards the resolving the protracted dispute.

The Nigerian Army maintained that the petition, which also posits that 82 Division, in defiance to a letter from the office of the Chief of Army Staff decided to take the law into its hand and supplant the rule of law, is completely unfounded and intended to tarnish the ongoing efforts of the NA to restore peace and tranquility in the South East Region.

The statement said, “Available official records indicate that immediately after the end of the Nigerian civil war, the Military Governors/Administrators of Enugu State allocated 36 properties to the Nigerian Army (NA) to address the accommodation needs of officers in the 82 Division.

“These properties were acknowledged by Enugu State Government as belonging to the Federal Government and by extension the NA on 14 April 2008. Accordingly, the State Government initiated a proposal for an ownership exchange of the property.

“In the terms of agreement of the proposal, the NA was to release 26 of the said properties to the State Government and in return, the State Government would construct alternative accommodations within the Abakpa Military Cantonment for the NA.

The property in question, Plot 30, Abakaliki Road, was among the 36 properties allocated to the NA, but was not part of the 26 properties involved in the proposed exchange with the State Government.

“The Certificate of Occupancy (C of O) issued by the State Government to Barrister Ogbodo Nana on 22 November, 2022, is defective as the C of O was granted without a proper revocation of the original title held by the Nigerian Army, which would be a necessary legal step to change ownership.

“Furthermore, in April 2023, Colonel Ugwuoke (retired) was ejected from House No 7 Abakaliki Lane, after it was discovered that he had attempted to acquire the property through the State Government without proper authorization.

“The NA’s position is that the property remains under its ownership, until proven otherwise through appropriate legal channels, and any claims to the contrary are based on misinformation.

“Consequently the NA calls for a thorough investigation and due process to resolve the matter, and it stands ready to present its evidence of ownership to the competent authorities.

“We also wish to reaffirm our commitment to the rule of law and the proper resolution of this dispute in accordance with Nigerian legal standards and provisions.

“It is therefore necessary to set the record straight in order not to mislead the public. It must be first acknowledged that the historical ownership and legal documentation of the controversial property predates the current dispute”, the Army statement said.

It also said the subsequent sale of a portion of the land to the current Claimant, Barrister Ogbodo Nana, was done without the consent or approval of the NA, which would have been required for a lawful transaction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.