July 15, 2024

Group Refutes Reports Of Deployment Of Soldiers By Christ Embassy Over Court Demolition Order

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Group Refutes Reports Of Deployment Of Soldiers By Christ Embassy Over Court Demolition Order

Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy

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By Simeon OSAJIE

A group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has vehemently debunked reports circulating in the media about Nigerian soldiers allegedly hired by Christ Embassy to fire live bullets at workers executing a court ordered demolition in Asese, Ogun State on July 6, 2024.

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A statement in Abuja by the National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko commended the soldiers for their timely and commendable intervention, which prevented a potentially deadly clash in the community.

According to eyewitness accounts and credible sources, Mr. Onwubiko said that the soldiers were on a routine patrol when the echoes of gunshots attracted their attention attracting the attention of soldiers, who were on a routine on patrol as part of their duty to ensure security in the area, stressing that their involvement was purely to restore normalcy and prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

He said: “According to eyewitness accounts, a team of Nigerian Army soldiers on routine patrol intervened in a face-off between police attached to the Inner City Mission compound and thugs reportedly backed by a detachment of fully armed Police Mobile Force (PMF) 41. This orchestrated onslaught by thugs led by one Femi, allegedly hired by Mr. Paul Audu, almost resulted in mayhem and a breakdown of law and order in the Asese community.”

The national coordinator explained that the conflict originated from an interlocutory order issued by Justice B.B. Adebowale of the Ogun State High Court in Abeokuta on July 1, 2024, in favor of Mr. Paul Audu, mandating the demolition of a fence between his property and the Inner City Mission.

He said that the defendants, Inner City Mission for Children, promptly appealed the order the same day and obtained a notice of appeal and a stay of execution, which were duly served on all relevant parties, including the Commissioner of Police, Ogun State Command, and the Ibafo Divisional Police Officer (DPO).

Continued, Mr. Onwubiko stated that despite the appeal processes, Mr. Audu, agitated by the situation, resorted to self-help by allegedly hiring thugs and procuring men from PMF 41 from outside Ogun State to support his illegal actions, adding that on July 3, 2024, when Mr. Audu attempted to enforce the court order with the help of thugs and PMF 41, the local divisional police officer, having been served the notice of appeal and stay of execution, declined to provide police backing, recognizing the legal implications.

Undeterred, he alleged that Mr. Audu again reportedly mobilized thugs and PMF 41 on July 6, 2024 to invade the premises of the Inner City Mission, wielding dangerous weapons and an excavator to demolish the disputed fence, adding that however situation escalated as the policemen began shooting sporadically into the air to intimidate the workers who resisted the demolition.

He said: “The timely intervention of the soldiers prevented further violence and potential loss of life. Upon sighting the soldiers, the thugs fled the scene. The presence of the soldiers effectively de-escalated the situation, ensuring that the conflict did not escalate into a larger and more dangerous confrontation.”

While commending the Nigerian Army for their professionalism and dedication to maintaining peace and security in Asese, the association noted that their intervention was critical in preventing a dangerous situation from spiraling out of control and protecting the lives of innocent residents.

The human rights association emphasized that the soldiers’ actions exemplify their commitment to upholding the rule of law and safeguarding the community.

HURIWA called on the Inspector General of Police to address the alarming issue of police officers being procured from outside their jurisdiction to participate in civil matters and cause mayhem.

Mr. Onwubiko reiterated: “HURIWA stands firmly against the false reports maligning the Nigerian Army and distorting the events in Asese. We commend the soldiers for their exemplary conduct and call on the authorities to address the misuse of police resources in civil matters. It is crucial to uphold the rule of law and ensure justice prevails for all parties involved.

“We remain committed to advocating for human rights and justice, and we will continue to monitor developments in this case to ensure that the truth is upheld and that peace and security are maintained in Asese and beyond.”

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