The General Officer Commanding the 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Odogbo barrack, Ibadan, Major General O. F. Azinka, has warned the residents of Ajobo, Omilabu, Idiomo, Anilelesin, Keda and Oluseyi communities, over the spreading of false, spurious and unfounded allegation against the Division.
Major General Azinka, gave the warning while addressing a press conference at the Conference Room of the Division at the Odogbo barrack .
He said the attention of the Headquarters 2 Division Nigerian Army had been drawn to spurious allegations leveled against it and the Nigerian Army in general by some residents of the above named communities. According to residents of the communities, the activities of the Division in recent times have constituted serious threats to their lives and properties, occasioned by projectiles landing on their homes anytime the Division conducts shooting exercises, by way of range classification at its cantonment range.
The GOC said the allegation is untrue and according to him, since the establishment of the shooting range in 1976, it has never been re-located or expanded from its present position; rather, it is the adjoining communities that have continuously encroached to their present locations and into the buffer zone that previously existed between the shooting range and the communities.
He further explained that despite the encroachment, a distance of 2000 metres exists between the stop – butt of the range and the communities. Given the fact that the effective range of the main weapon (AK 47 rifle) being fired at the range is 800m, it is virtually impossible for the projectile to travel up to a distance of 2000 meters and wreck havoc, as being claimed.
The GOC said the stop – butt at the range was designed to absorb and prevent any projectile from traveling out of the range area during live firing. Furthermore, the distance from the stop-butt to cantonments fence towards the communities is more than 1000m. It means that any bullet that escapes the stop-butt will fall within the Army land.
Major General O. F. Azinka revealed that as part of efforts to convince the communities of the safety precautions put in place at the shooting range, on many occasions, representatives of the communities and their legal counsels were conducted round the range, even at the time of firing exercise to confirm the claims regarding the specification and safety of the range.
In addition, the Army Public Relation Department of the Division does conduct an enlightenment campaign in the adjoining communities prior to the conduct of any shooting activities. The aim of the campaign is to ensure that the farmers who have encroached on the Army land do not come within the range area during shooting exercise.
Earlier, the 2 Division Nigeria Army Garrison Commander, Brigadier General Oluyinka Soyele took journalists round the training school and the stop-butt of the shooting range where shooting exercise took place and it was obvious that no life was lost, nor was there damage of properties of the adjoining communities, as being claimed.
Omolara Esan (Mrs.)
Deputy Director of Information