Following the deployment of soldiers to Ogoniland to curb increasing insecurity in the area, a group under the aegis of Ogoni Community Development Network, has raised alarm over reports of army allegedly molesting the people in the troubled area in Rivers state.
President of the group, Johnson Kuele, in a statement, said the people in the area are daily living in fear over the manner the soldiers deployed to the area are harassing the people as they go about their daily activities.
The statement said on Saturday March 11, 2017, soldiers reportedly molested women along the Biara axis in Gokana local government area while they peacefully conducted their petty businesses at about 7pm.
The President said the women were reported to be sellers of fried yams, plantain, rice and other food items when the soldiers swooped on them and destroyed their wares.
On the same day, the statement said, soldiers were reported to have destroyed the petty trade business of another woman around the Community Secondary School in Yeghe, also in Gokana local government area of the state.
It added that football viewing centers were forced to shut down and in one center, precisely in Yeghe, the television used for viewing football matches was taken away by soldiers.
One victim who was detained and preferred not to be named for fear of persecution, said he got bail with the sum of NGN30,000 on Monday morning after he was arrested from his shop in Nweol in Gokana local government.
“We consider these early signs of abuses and molestation against civilians to be very disturbing, unacceptable and urge the army to focus mainly on checks to prevent arms movement and crime.
We are collecting more information on the activities of soldiers recently deployed to Ogoniland and will continue to update Nigerians on cases of abuse by soldiers,” the statement said.