24 July 2015, Aba – Some officers of the Naval School of Finance and Logistics, Owerri-Nta, Abia State have allegedly forced 15 workers of an oil company in the commercial city to lie in mud water and drink it.
One of the victims, Opara, an engineer with the oil company, Stock Gap Fuels Limited, which is building a mega petrol station/gas plant on Elizabeth Avenue by Aba-Owerri Road, GRA, Aba told Vanguard that on Tuesday morning, they came to work on the site. He said at about 2.00pm, he left for the bank to withdraw money, with which to pay the people who supplied them sand.
“It was while at the bank that I got a phone call that about 12 Naval men were maltreating workers at the site. So, I quickly left the bank and when I got to the site, I saw 16 of my workers, including our secretary, a female inside the mud and the Naval officers were stepping on them and ordering them to drink the mud water.
“So, when I tried to approach the commanding officer, who was at the site giving orders to his men, he told his suborbinates not to allow me get close to him and based on the instruction, his boys chased me away and I had to call my office in Port Harcourt.”
The engineer disclosed that he stood from afar and watched as the commanding officer ordered his men who used their bayonets to puncture the 40 tyres of tipper trucks supplying them sand.
Narrating her ordeal, the company secretary and store keeper, Juliet Enwereji said that during her lunch time , she heard the Naval men who incidentally share the same fence with the company, ordering workers at the site to go outside.
Enwereji said immediately she came out of the office, a naval officer pointed a gun at her and the commanding officer ordered her to lie down in the mud water.
Other workers who spoke to Vanguard said this was not the first time the Naval officer, who had previously shown disdain for the structure being erected near his house, would be maltreating them.
According to them, “there was a time he came and reported to the site engineer that he would not want a higher structure within the vicinity of his quarters.We didn’t know the reason. Some three weeks back, a pay-loader came to the site and as it was driving out, the commanding officer called his men to beat up the pay-loader driver and took him inside his compound and detained him.”
Efforts to get the commanding officer, Navy Capt. Ejaro, to react to the allegations proved futile as Naval ratings at the gate of his quarters on Elizabeth Avenue, GRA, Aba, refused to allow our correspondent access to his residence.