How Troopers Burnt My College, Looted My Store
Paul Gaza is an entrepreneur primarily based in Peva, a city within the Takum Native Authorities Space of Taraba State. He tells JUSTIN TYOPUUSU how his college was allegedly destroyed by personnel of the Nigerian Military deployed to the state
Can you narrate how your property was destroyed?
My identify is Prince Paul Gaza. I’m a businessman and the proprietor of Excel Knowledge Academy, Peva Chanchanji. I additionally promote constructing supplies, drinks and I commerce in grains too. It all began on Thursday, July 16, 2020. I used to be away on a enterprise journey. However within the early hours of Friday, July 17, 2020, I acquired a name from one in every of my salespersons, Felix Mise, who instructed me that troopers invaded my home and destroyed every thing in the home.
Based on him, they got here within the evening at about 3am, in search of me. However they had been instructed that I was not round, that I had travelled. The troopers beat them up mercilessly, destroyed my private belongings, and packed my paperwork and different valuables. Within the strategy of looking my home, they took the sum of N1,237,000 which we constructed from gross sales from Monday, July 13, to Thursday, July 16. In addition they made away with three bikes – two black Haojue and a Bajaj (Boxer).
They broke all of the casement home windows of my home and smashed the windscreen of my 504 business wagon and one 504 saloon automotive. Three of my boys, who had been round, had been all arrested. My spouse was within the village to examine our farm and solely got here again to see the destruction on Friday. The troopers later proceeded to my constructing supplies store, alongside the Catholic Church highway and looted the objects there.
Did you report back to the police?
That very same evening, at about 5am, my neighbour, Mr Terngu Torwua, whose store was near mine, referred to as me and instructed me that folks had been looting my store. I made efforts to name the police, however earlier than I may even get by, he referred to as me again and mentioned the individuals had been troopers. So, I didn’t even name the police once more. He instructed me they got here in three Toyota Hilux vans and had been packing issues in the store. They took away 19 wheelbarrows, nails, trowels, paint, nets, and so on.
They used knives to perforate my cement luggage and destroyed 50 bundles of roofing sheets. In actual fact, any factor that they may not tak with them, they ensured that they destroyed it. I used to be shocked when my individuals despatched me the images of what occurred. As if that was not sufficient, they proceeded to my college on Saturday, July 18, 2020, and burnt all the constructions there.
However what do you assume was the explanations behind the actions of the attackers whom you mentioned had been troopers?
I actually don’t know why they’re doing this. However I learn within the papers that Main Basic Adeyemi Yekini mentioned they had been in search of bandits and criminals. However individuals in that neighborhood know who I’m. I don’t have any hyperlink with bandits or criminals.
The successes I recorded to this point are primarily based on sheer luck and favour from God who has blessed my endeavours. I began the colleges – Excel Knowledge Academy Major and Secondary College in 2014 and, in the present day, I have over 1,000 college students within the secondary part and barely above 400 within the major college. So, I’m a well-liked particular person in that neighborhood. Everyone can attest to my character. I problem the Nigerian Military to come out with proof in opposition to me that I’m a legal or bandit.
Are you able to describe the extent of destruction within the college?
The destruction is huge. All of the blocks have been destroyed and none will be put to make use of. I’ve pupils who had been purported to take the West African Senior College Certificates Examination and Nationwide Examination Council examination. They had been billed to take their final-year examination, if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are your plans now?
To begin with, I’ve directed my workforce of legal professionals to file a case in opposition to the Nigerian Military and Main Basic Adeyemi Yekini for authorising the destruction of my college and looting of my home and store. I’ve a proper to my property and the destruction has triggered me an entire lot of inconveniences. I’ve over 15 individuals staying with me. Seven of them are staying in the principle flat with me whereas the others are staying within the different constructing. I needed to relocate my spouse and a few members of the family to the village, whereas the others are staying with a few of my relations and pals.
Supply: The PUNCH