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Banana Island residents protest alleged military invasion, waylay Buratai

Banana Island residents protest alleged military invasion, waylay Buratai

- Some residents of Lagos over the weekend protested against military invasion in their estate

- The protesters also waylaid the chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, who was on a visit to Banana Island estate

- Buratai appealed to the residents who alleged militarisation of the estate and destruction of their jetty by soldiers

Residents of Banana Island on Saturday, June 2, waylaid the chief of army staff, Tukur Buratai, who was on a visit to the estate located in Ikoyi area of Lagos state.

The residents protested the invasion of military personnel who had created panic last Monday, May 28, when they stormed the estate.

Punch reports that Buratai was invited by the Nigerian Army Properties Limited to commission an estate, Apple Island, inside Banana Island.

Shocked at the protest by the people, the chief of army staff appealed to residents who alleged militarisation of the estate and destruction of their jetty by soldiers.

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Buratai said: “I was actually supposed to come here yesterday (Friday) and I put it off for certain reasons. I decided to come here to see what the position is. I came here to see the general area first of all. But now, nothing is going to happen without following the due process to consult you for your view. Rest assured, we are here for your interest and the interest of the country."

It was gathered that Buratai left the event without the ceremonial cutting of the tape that led to the entrance of the new project.

Speaking on the military invasion, one of the residents, Tokunbo Wahab, said some armed soldiers invaded and destroyed the estate jetty fence and signboard on the premise that was part of the Apple Island.

Wahab said: “On Monday, May 28, the eve of Democracy Day, some armed military men came to destroy our jetty and everything we had there. They came in through the estate gate and stationed themselves there till Friday. They claimed to be acting on the orders of the Nigerian Army Property Limited. Despite our protest, they wanted to go ahead with the inauguration.

“On Friday, some of us challenged the illegality of militarising the estate and we asked them to leave. Around 4 pm, the soldiers were withdrawn.

Banana Island residents protest alleged military invasion, waylay Buratai

Some of the Banana Island residents during the protest against the Army. Photo credit: Punch

“However, on Saturday, we saw armed policemen and we decided to mobilise as residents when we got the information that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, was on his way to inaugurate the said Apple Island.

“We decided to form a human shield as he was coming down from his car. We expressed our anger at the militarisation of a civilian estate and the destruction of our property. We told him that we had approval to have a jetty on the estate which they claimed was the take-off point of their Apple Island. We also said they could not use an existing estate as an access to another estate," Wahab said.

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With a video clip as an evidence to his claims, the resident said Buratai appeased residents by saying he had only visited to see the site while promising that the damages would be repaired.

“We do not have a problem with Apple Estate. However, our concerns are that they want to use Banana Island access road by destroying the play area, the recreation area and the jetty area. They want to use them as access to their own Island.

"We do not agree because they will be disrupting the master plan of our estate and killing people’s investments. Banana Island is what it is because some people invested their money, resources and time,” he added.

Also speaking, the vice chairman of the Banana Island Property Owners and Residents Association, Biodun Jegede, said the residents were worried for their security and safety. He said it was scary as residents assumed the Banana Island Estate was been used as access to the proposed new estate.

“There is no study to show the environmental impact assessment of the proposed island on this estate because we know these things need to be thoroughly thought about. This estate is a closed unit. If you decide to cut through it to open another estate, you are opening us up to danger.

“It is also high time we stemmed the occurrence of illegality in this country. If a land has been allocated for a purpose, and it is to be reversed, it should be done the right way. Not by somebody coming up and proposing something that was not there in the first place. You don’t need to kill something good to create another good item,” Jegede said.

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Meanwhile, previously reported that the Nigeria Army had demoted a major-general to brigadier-general for carrying out a training without proper permission from higher authorities.

The decision against the Army general was taken in a special military court.

Patrick Falola was demoted to a lower rank for admitting students for clinical training without permission.

Falola, who is the director of 68 Military Reference Hospital, Yaba in Lagos state was arraigned on a two-count charge of conduct prejudice the service and fraudulent misapplication of the hospital’s property.

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