By Daud Olatunji
THE recent visit by the General Officer Commanding (GOC), 81 Division Nigerian Army, Major-General Ebenezer Oyefolu to 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, Ogun State, revealed that some parcels of the land belonging to the Nigerian Army in the state might have been encroached on either by land grabbers or herdsmen.
Vanguard gathered that the 35 Artillery Alamala Barracks had a very large expanse of land running into 50 acres that stretched from some part in Lafenwa, Abeokuta and ended at Alamala village along Ayetoro, Yewa North Local Government. It was further gathered that apart from the Army day secondary school and a cemetery in Lafenwa, some other parcels of the land from Lafenwa till Alamala village seem to have been taken over by land grabbers and others except the range and the barracks in Alamala.
Miffed by the development, the new Brigade Commander of the 35 Artillery Alamala Barracks, Brigadier General Basil Adonkie took the step to prevent further encroachment of the Nigerian Army land in the area. The Brigade Commander facilitated the commissioning of some projects, which include ; reactivated boreholes, micro booster station reticulated water point and another borehole at Vulcan’s House, Abeokuta.
He said that the authority of the Nigerian Army must be quickly exercised so as not to lose its lands to land speculators. Adonkie said the porosity had made the barracks prone to all manners of infiltrators that might want to take the advantage of the development to embarrass the Nigerian Army.
He stated this at the foundation laying of the perimeter fence phase I and commissioning of other projects embarked upon by the Brigade Commander of the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala Barracks, Brigadier General Bassey Adonkie. He said the erection of the new structure would give the barrack a facelift as well as preventing land invasion by land grabbers while calling on government to support the force in the provision of more modern infrastructure across military formations in the country.
According to him, the most worrisome situation was the porous nature of the barracks which makes the barracks prone to all manners of infiltrators and criminal elements who may want to take the advantage of the barracks porosity to embarrass the Nigerian Army in this axis. “Consequently, the need to improve the physical security of the barracks has become a necessity”, he said.
In his remarks, the General Officer Commanding, 81 Division, Nigerian Army, Lagos, Major-General Ebenezer Oyefolu said the army authorities would encourage commanders to construct perimeter fence in barracks to ward off insecurity threats. According to the GOC, many army barracks in the country are not fenced thus making them susceptible to security breaches, including encroachment activities of herdsmen and land grabbers.
He noted that perimeter fencing would help address the problem of porous barracks and protect inhabitants as well as sensitive security equipment. Oyefolu explained that the upgrade of structures at various barracks nationwide was in line with the vision of the current Chief of Army Staff, Lt. General Tukur Buratai, at ensuring adequate welfare of officers and men in the discharge of their duties.
He however, ordered that the security should be beefed up around the Barracks under his watch against herdsmen and others. The GOC who also ordered that all the Barracks should be fenced, explained that the erection of perimeter fence at the 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala Barracks and others was to forestall the propensity of people encroaching the barracks.
He said, “Barrack is a very important installation and you will agree with me that most of our barracks are not fenced. So, all commanders are encouraged to make efforts. When effort is made from Army headquarters there, commanders on ground are encouraged to ensure that they secure their barracks and the best way to secure the barrack is by fencing it, after which you ensure that other security measures are applied.”
The GOC commended the Brigade Commander for mobilising resources towards securing the barrack, urging him to follow up with installation of Closed-circuit Television (CCTV) cameras. He later donated the sum of N500,000 to support the perimeter fence project and assured that the 81 Division will further assist in its completion as resources improve.
In his remarks, the State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun reaffirmed the commitment of the present administration towards ensuring sustained collaboration with the security agencies through the provision of equipment and enabling environment towards protecting lives and properties of the people in the State.
Governor Amosun, represented by the Speaker of the State Assembly, Hon Suraju Ishola Adekunbi applauded the security agencies in the State for their efforts at ensuring effective security networks, promising that the present administration would continue to put in place necessary plans and policies that would further help in beefing up the security of the State.
Amosun, assured that it will sustain its collaborative efforts with the security agencies through provision of equipment and enabling environment towards safeguarding lives and property in the State. He applauded the security agencies in the State for their efforts at ensuring effective security networks. The governor promised that his administration would continue to put in place necessary policies that would further strengthen security in the State.