Residents of Anisere Ipamesan community in Sango-Ijoko Local Council Development Area of Ogun State have called on authorities of the Nigerian Navy to stop incessant harassment in the area by their officers.
They alleged the Naval personnel of aiding and abetting the activities of land grabbers and speculators in Sango-Ota which, in effect, is threatening the lives of innocent people.
This was contained in a petition addressed to the Chief of Naval Staff, Defence Headquarters, a copy of which was obtained by our cotrespondent.
The petition was titled, “Harassment, intimidation, threat to life and general conduct unbecoming of officers and gentlemen by Naval personnels in Sango Ota.”
The petition was also copied to Governor Ibikunle Amosun; the Assistant Inspector General of Police, Zone 2; the Commandant, Nigeria Navy School of Music, Ota and the Police Area Commander, Sango.
According to the community leaders, Naval personnel have continued to engage in acts of misconduct by meddling in chieftaincy disputes, land cases and transport unionism.
They cited instances where the law enforcement agents had breached the peace of Anisere/Ipamesan community.
They further alleged that several complaints of the unbecoming actions of these officers and men to the Commandant, Nigerian Navy School of Music, Ota had yielded no result.
The petition read in part, “Since last year in Sango Ota, the presence of Naval personnel is likened to that of the proverbial masquerade that threatens both the old and the young with imminent death or maiming.
“It is so bad that land grabbers, area boys and even parties in chieftaincy titles now secure the services of Naval personnel to instill fears in innocent Nigerians by maltreating opponents.
“Without being immodest, one continue to wonder if it is the duty of Naval personnel to follow land speculators and even become their errand boys in the present day Nigeria. Must the officers and men of the Nigerian Navy be turned into thugs and ‘omo oniles’ because of the financial inducement attached to it?
“As if that was not enough, on October 29, 2016, the Naval personnel attached to the local government for environmental sanitation duties immediately after the exercise stormed Aranse/Anisere community and started shooting, harassment and disturbing the community on the pretence that they were invited by a group to assist them over land issues.”
The residents said they have exhausted their patience “in the face of near daily intimidation and insults” by the Naval men.
They said, “The presence of the Navy School of Music to us is a welcome thing; it is a development that had added value to our social lives and perception of the Navy.
“This good aspect is seriously being eroded by certain elements within the men and officers who are bent on taking financial gratification and act in ways very contrary to the Ordinance of the Nigerian Navy.”