The planned demonstration by the people of Ogoni against the acquisition of 300,000 hectares of their land by the Rivers State government could not hold yesterday due to the presence of soldiers, drawn from 2 Amphibious Brigade, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt.
LEADERSHIP gathered that the soldiers, who rode in no fewer than 15 patrol vehicles, were seen hovering around Taabaa community in Khana local government area of the state, venue for the planned demonstration thereby forcing the organizers to call it off.
It was observed that while the people were still preparing for the protest, heavily armed soldiers were blocking the entrance to the community and did not allow the protesters to enter or leave the community.
The people of the seven communities in Nyor-Khana Kingdom, including Taabaa, Lueku, Lorre, Sorgho, Ueke, Luebe and Okwuale had organized the demonstration to express their opposition to the acquisition of their land by the state government for the proposed plantain farm.
Spokesman of the affected communities, Comrade Famaa Bariledum told newsmen that the reason for the demonstration was to protest the injustice done them by the state government.
Bariledum, who is also the founder of African Community Development Network (ACDN) accused the state government of deploying soldiers to invade their communities and take over their land without formal consultation or compensation, saying that such act negates the principle of land acquisition in Nigeria.
He said: “The State Government sent soldiers to invade a community of over 300,000 people and take over their land without formal notice or permission. We have been talking every day but the government refused to listen to us, they have destroyed all our farm crops and plants, and when we asked, nobody responded to us.
“This morning, our planned peaceful demonstration was stopped by a large number of military men with about 15 vehicles, they invaded our communities, detained the paramount leader of Okwuale community. They threatened to arrest over 200,000 people that came out to demonstrate.”