Church, Navy disagree over Akwa Ibom project

The Church of Christ in Owok Ette, Ikot Abasi Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, has pleaded with personnel of the NNS Jubilee, Nigerian Navy, to stop harassing and intimidating its workers.

The church decried the incessant harassment and disruption of the project, noting that each time it mobilised workers to the site, which is located opposite the Navy base, naval personnel would appear to disrupt the project and beat up the workers.

The church threatened to drag the base to court if the harassment and intimidations of its workers continued.

A medical doctor and member of the church, Inemesit Ekanem, in a statement made available on Wednesday, lamented that the disruptions and harassment had hampered the progress of work, adding that the church had suffered monumental losses as a result of the actions of the naval personnel.

Reacting, the NNS Jubilee said the church building would constitute a security threat to the base if it was completed.

The Base Operation Officer, Navy Commander Morgan Etuk, said, “This is a military establishment and every military establishment all over the world must have a buffer zone, a safety zone. So, this military establishment is not an exception.

“However, when they came on Saturday, one of our officers went to them and told them not to continue. That was not the first time they were told not to continue with the work. We told them of the need to come so that we could have a roundtable discussion, because that church if erected, will become a security threat to this 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 was even going to be 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 that 100 per cent of the members don’t have any criminal tendency or intentions. You heard about how criminals went about attacking military zones, killing personnel and carting away weapons. So, we have to secure our base.”