Army Molestation of Civilians in Ogoniland is Unacceptable

By Johnson Kuele
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Following the deployment of soldiers to Ogoniland to curb increasing insecurity created by some gangs, there had been reports of molestation of innocent citizens going about their daily activities.

On Saturday March 11, soldiers reportedly molested women along the Biara axis in Gokana local government area while they peacefully conducted their petty trade business at about 7 PM. The women were reported to be sellers of fried yams, plantain, rice and other food items. On the same day, soldiers were reported to have destroyed the petty trade business of one Comfort around the community Secondary School in Yeghe, also in Gokana local government area.

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 prefers not to be named for fear of persecution, says he got bail with the sum of NGN30,000.00 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 you on cases of abuse.

Johnson Kuele
President, Ogoni Community Development Network