The 13 Brigade of The Nigerian Army in Calabar, has evicted 114 residents of Bakassi Resettlement Camp in Ekpri Obutong camp.
The Army Public Relations Officer, 13 Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Capt. Joseph James made this known on Sunday while addressing newsmen.
He said the eviction was carried out by the officers and men of the Brigade.
James said that the exercise was to evict illegal occupants of the Bakassi Resettlement camp otherwise called the ex-militants camp.
He said the Army evicted the illegal occupants for security reasons.
« We try to make them see the reason why they should leave that place for their own safety. »
The Army PRO said that proper identification was on-going for the people in the barrack after the eviction.
« When they were raided, they were brought to our barracks for proper identification. As am briefing you now proper identification is going on here.
« The essence is to document every one of them to know what they do and the reason why they are occupying the place.
« And also to find out how they find their way to the resettlement camp. So far we have gotten some of the family relatives coming to identify them.
« Before they are granted bail, we ask the relatives to write an undertaking to ensure that the persons will never go back to that camp.
« There after we release them to their relatives. I equally want to say that when they are brought here we treated them fairly. We try to make them not to feel bad that we are not here to harm or torture them. »
James, however, said that no incriminating objects were found on them.
« When people cluster at a particular area which has been tagged as a place for ex- militants, people are not expected to be there.
« We are working on a piece of information that is why we have to go there and evict them and try to know them and where they have come from.
The essence is for them to look for a better place to stay rather to mix up themselves in a place set aside for ex- militants c.
« If a place is not secure I wouldn’t know why people will go there and stay.
« What we did was to evict the entire occupant from that place for security purpose and to let them look for a better place to stay because staying there they may likely constitute treat to security. »
Reacting to the eviction, one of the evictees, Mr Effiom Bassey, said he was in his house in Bakassi Estate when the Army raided the place.
I was in my house in Bakassi Estate where government allocated to me as the host community chief. Government gave about 20 houses to the chiefs.
« I heard a knock on my door, I saw Army everywhere, they used force to come in and I explained myself that Iam one of the village heads.
We are the host community and our houses were located there. After building the houses, the Ministry of Land now allotted houses to village heads who owned houses in the estate they left.
He appealed to Government to give them two months as they had no other place to stay now.
Another evictee, Mr Godwin Effiong said he was preparing to go to church this morning whem some soldiers arrested them.
According to him, the state government gave them the place to stay.
Also speaking, Mr Dominic Daniel, a pastor in Christ the World Church in Bakassi, said he came to the baracks to ensure the release of five of his members.
« I’m not happy at the eviction because when I asked my members they said there was no previous notice.
He called on the government to give the evictees two months to enable them to look for alternative houses to stay.