Reports gathered has revealed why men of the Nigerian Army took over the construction site of a cousin to former President Goodluck Jonathan which was hinged on security threat.
Armed soldiers on Saturday sealed off the construction site of Kakarta Civil Engineering Limited owned by Azibaola Robert for sharing a boundary with the Lungui Barracks of the Nigerian Army on the Kubwa/Asokoro Expressway, Abuja.
Azibaola, his wife, Stella and their firm are currently on trial over alleged payment of $40million into the bank account of one of their companies, One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited, through the office of the National Security Adviser (NSA).
It would be recalled that the Economy and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) traced the source of the $40 million to a bank in London.
The cash was allegedly wired through Citibank N. A. Canada Square Canary, Wharf London E 145 LB into the account of One Plus Holdings Nigeria Limited.
The $40 million came from the account of the Special Services Office of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).
It was gathered that the Kakarta Civil Engineering Limited site was allocated to Azibaola by the last administration.
The company is providing engineering infrastructure for the Maitama Extension District in Abuja.
According to report published in The Nation newspaper yesterday, the Army is uncomfortable with the site sitting so close to the Lungui Barracks.
The army is said to be particularly worried by the blasting of rocks and crushing of granite near the barracks, claiming that terror sect Boko Haram could take advantage of the site to attack the barracks.
Sources said that the administration of former President Jonathan ignored the fears raised by the army prior to the allocation of the land to the company and proceeded to give the go ahead following a strong recommendation from the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).
The new official residences of the Senate President and some principal officers of the National Assembly as well as other highly-placed Nigerians, are located in the affected Maitama Extension District in Abuja.
The site is being used as a base for the coordination of the provision of services for the owners of plots in the District.
Soldiers, who were drafted to the site at about 8:00 pm on Friday, sealed off the site yesterday, preventing workers from entering the construction site.
The soldiers said they were “acting on orders from above.”
A top military source said, “The truth is that the site was actually annexed from the land belonging to the Nigerian Army in violation of the FCT Master Plan.
“Lungi Barracks is just part of plans for military use of the land. Despite the fact that it is a military zone, the land was allocated to some bigwigs including Azibaola’s company (Kakarta Civil Engineering Limited).
“If you ask the management of the construction company, they will tell you that there had been issues on the site from the onset.
“For political reasons, the Jonathan administration approved that the site be converted from military use to other purposes.
“If you go to the site, you will see that it has grave security implications for Lungi Barracks. Each time there is a blast, it affects the military.
“The incessant blasting of rocks had forced soldiers to mobilise many times as if enemies were around.”
Although, it was not clear on whose instruction the soldiers took over the site at press time.
One of the site workers, Mr. Maxwell Udom, alleged that no eviction notice was served on Kakarta Civil Engineering Limited.
Udom said, “We closed from work yesterday (Friday) peacefully. We came to work on Saturday to continue with our previous job only to see that the site had been invaded by armed military men.
“Their leader refused to explain what brought them here. He only warned us not to come close to the gate in our interest. We have no option than to obey the order. As I speak, we are confused on what led to this action.”
The Public Affairs Manager of Kakarta Civil Engineering Limited! Mr. Austin Ekeinde, admitted that the site was under soldiers’ siege.
He said: “I can confirm to you that armed military men have suddenly taken over our site in Maitama and we have asked our workers to go back to their respective homes till further notice, while we try to get clarification from the military on their provocative action.
“This action has led to huge losses as even asphalt we cooked overnight for laying this morning has been allowed to cake and waste.”