Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai was met with a strong civil protest by Banana Island residents during a recent visit to the estate.
Perhaps, this created an embarrassing moment for army chief, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai who was prevented from entering the Ikoyi estate during a visit on Saturday, June 2, 2018.
Punch News gathered Buratai had just arrived to commission a new settlement, Apple Island located in the rural seat.
This was in response to a request by the Nigerian Army Properties Limited who wanted him over for an inauguration which unfortunately failed to happen.
“I was actually supposed to come here yesterday (Friday) and I put it off for certain reasons. I decided to come here to see what the position is.
"I came here to see the general area first of all.
“But now, nothing is going to happen without following the due process to consult you for your view.
Rest assured, we are here for your interest and the interest of the country,” Buratai says calmly while addressing a crowd of Banana Island protesters.
His gentle speech ended but also ensured an early departure of the army chief who was not able to formally commission the project due to a barricade created by a crowd.
Punch News confirmed from a resident Tokunbo Wahab the full detail of the protest.
“On Monday, May 28, the eve of Democracy Day, some armed military men came to destroy our jetty and everything we had there. They came in through the estate gate and stationed themselves there till Friday.
"They claimed to be acting on the orders of the Nigerian Army Property Limited. Despite our protest, they wanted to go ahead with the inauguration.
“On Friday, some of us challenged the illegality of militarising the estate and we asked them to leave. Around 4pm, the soldiers were withdrawn.
“However, on Saturday, we saw armed policemen and we decided to mobilise as residents when we got the information that the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, was on his way to inaugurate the said Apple Island.
“We decided to form a human shield as he was coming down from his car. We expressed our anger at the militarisation of a civilian estate and the destruction of our property.
"We told him that we had approval to have a jetty on the estate which they claimed was the take-off point of their Apple Island. We also said they could not use an existing estate as an access to another estate," Tokunbo Wahab explains.
Punch News added that it got hold of a video showing the army chief as he addressed Wahab and his neighbours.