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How soldiers brutalised 80-year-old widow

An 80-year-old widow, Susanna Ahunanya, was recently brutalised and her property destroyed by soldiers in Odiemerenyi community in Ahoada east Local Government Area (LGA) of…

An 80-year-old widow, Susanna Ahunanya, was recently brutalised and her property destroyed by soldiers in Odiemerenyi community in Ahoada east Local Government Area (LGA) of Rivers State.
Odiemerenyi a sleepy rural community plays host to Total Oil pipeline installations. The oil firm and the community are trading blame over who was responsible for the incident. While the community insisted that Total sponsored the attacks on them, the latter said it has no link to whatever happened in the community.
Trouble started in August 25th 2016 when the oil firm in company of heavily armed soldiers visited the community to inspect a suspected oil leak. As the Joint Inspection Team comprising TEPNG Safety Team, the Department of Petroleum Resources, Officials of Ministry of Environment and the Nigerian Oil Spill Regulatory Agency (NOSRA) made their way to the community, they were said to have been confronted by irate youths who barricaded them from entering the community. The youths’ grouse, according to George Agbeso, a youth leader from the community was that the visiting team did not carry out proper consultations with the elders and major stakeholders in the community before moving to the spill site.
Community sources informed Daily Trust that the angry youths pelted the visiting team with stones, a situation that angered the soldiers providing security to the Joint Visitation Team. The inspection visit was immediately aborted and TEPNG team and the representatives of regulatory agencies were safely taken from the area.
Twenty- four hours later, the soldiers were said to have reinforced, returned to the community, beat up anybody in sight and set about six houses ablaze. One of the victims of the soldiers’ brutality was 80-year-old widow, Susana Ihunanya who was beaten up and her six bedroom apartment set ablaze.
Ihunanya who spoke through an interpreter, said: “I was in the house when soldiers numbering eight came in and ransacked the entire house and were not able to find anybody. At that point they started beating me. One slapped me, while others kicked and asked me to produce the boys that ran into my house. When it dawned on them that I was not harbouring anybody, they pushed me out of the house and set the entire building ablaze.”
The widow, who was squatting in a makeshift canopy with her children when our reporter visited her, said the rampaging soldiers destroyed everything in the house and left her with the only dress she had on. She called on the state government to fish out those behind the attack and rebuild her destroyed home.
There were several such victims. George Agbeso whose mother was also beaten up by soldiers said they invaded the community without following the right channel. “All we saw were soldiers going berserk. I was in Port Harcourt when somebody called to inform me that soldiers have invaded my house in the village. They came into my house and manhandled my mother. She was beaten up and her left arm broken.”

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