Army denies killing people, destroying properties from shooting range in Ibadan

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The 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Ibadan, has refuted allegation that it damaged lives and property in some communities during its shooting exercises.

Some residents in communities in Ibadan had alleged that projectiles from the exercise caused damage to their lives and property.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the residents of Ajobo, Omilabu, Anilelerin, Keda and Oluseyi communities located on Arulogun-Igbo-Olorin road, had complained of such damage.

They claimed that projectiles landed on their houses any time the division conducted the exercise at its range.

However, addressing newsmen on Monday in Ibadan, the Division’s Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Hassan Mohammed, said that a distance of 2,000 metres existed between the “stop-butt’’ of the range and the communities.

Mohammed said the effective range of the main weapon (Ak47 rifle) being fired was 800 metres.

He argued that it was impossible for the projectile to travel up to a distance of 2,000 metres and wreck havoc as claimed by the communities.

Mohammed said that the stop-butt at the range was designed to absorb and prevent any projectile from traveling out of the range area during live firing.

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The spokesman said bullet fired at the range was flat trajectory and aimed at specific targets placed at the base of the stop-butt.

According to him, it is impossible for the bullet to fly above the stop-butt.

He explained that the distance from the stop-butt to the cantonment’s fence toward the community was more than 1,000 metres.

Mohammed said that this meant that any bullet that escaped the stop-butt would fall within the army land, adding that the army acquired 7,200 acres of land for the cantonment in 1974.

He added that a clear understanding of the gazette in respect of the land showed that the communities in the aforementioned places were wider apart from the land boundary.

“The range has never been relocated or expanded since its establishment in 1976.

“Rather, it is the adjourning communities that have continuously encroached to their present location and the buffer zone that previously existed between the shooting Range and the communities,’’ he said.

Responding to questions, Maj.-Gen. Okudili Azinta, the General Officer Commanding, (GOC), 2 Division, said that the division had never had any casualty during its range activities.

Azinta said that the claims by those residents were being orchestrated by land speculators with the aim of compelling the army to relinquish portion of the land to them.

He described the claims as “selfish and ill-motivated’’, and calculated to harangue the army into allowing continued illegal encroachment on its property. (NAN)

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