The Nigeria Navy, NNS Jubilee, in Ikot Abasi, has said it would not allow the construction of a storey building opposite its Base main gate for security reasons.
The Base Operation Officer, Navy Cdr. Morgan Etuk, said this on Thursday, while speaking with newsmen on the complaint by a Church of incessant harassments and disruptions of the church’s project work opposite the Base.
Mr Etuk said that every military establishment must have a buffer zone.
A medical doctor and member of the Church, Dr Inemesit Ekanem, had alleged in a statement to newsmen that the disruption and harassment by NNS Jubilee had impeded the progress of the church’s work.
Mr Etuk said that when the church workers came to the site on March 12, one of the officers of the Base told them of the need for a round-table discussion, which they had always ignored.
He said the Base had a dialogue with the Church leadership about four times on the need to relocate the structure from opposite the Base’s entrance.
According to him, this is a military establishment and every military establishment all over the world must have a buffer zone, a safety zone and this military establishment is not an exception.
He said that when the workers came on March 12, one of their officers told them not to continue with the work.
Mr Etuk said that was not the first time they were told to stop work.
He added that they had also told them of the need to come for a round-table discussion because the church, if erected, would become a security threat to the base.
“If you check our security architecture you will see drums and sentries stationed all over the place. These are some of the things we use to protect this place.
“Coming to erect that structure, which they said is even a storey building, somebody can go there and use it as an observation post to monitor what is happening inside the base.
“As a pastor you will not tell me categorically hundred per cent that the members don’t have any criminal tendencies or intentions.
“You heard about how criminals go about attacking military zones, killing personnel and carting away weapons, so we have to secure our base.
“We can’t just sit down and allow a structure erected in front of us which we know fully well that it might become a security threat to us,” Etuk said.
Mr Etuk denied the allegations that the church workers were beaten, saying that naval officers were law abiding citizens and not animals that would start beating people up.
He said the Base had no power to give any approvals or authorisation for anyone to erect a structure, except the Office of the National Security Adviser.
He said that for now that approval had not been given, adding that the base would not allow such construction knowing fully well that it would be a security threat,” he said.