As soldiers in search of the body of a missing general demolished my building, Rybny Pond is a businessman
In an interview with OLADIMEJI RAMON, businessman Bardé Pohl described how soldiers who were looking for the body of a missing general demolished his property in 2018.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Paul Bard. I graduated from Jos University. I am a practicing construction worker and businessman. I am from Kamkun, South Langtang Local Government District, Plateau State.
You once had a problem with the army; what was it about?
On the morning of September 26, 2018, Major A. Uba from the garrison of the 3rd Armored Division, Jos, called me to come and open my property, otherwise they will open it. My property was not far from the pond, they claimed that the body of the missing general had been deposited and that he had been ordered to return it at all costs. They claimed that the security report said the general’s body was buried in a pond. I told them that I did not know anything (about this), as I live elsewhere and only occasionally came to check the fish farm as a whole. The hotel is located in Kwang, South Local Government District of Jos, Plateau State, while I lived in Hwolsha, near the old airport interchange, Jos.
Why didn’t you open a hotel for them to check?
I went there immediately to open the property.
What happened next?
On October 1, 2018, the same agent, Major Uba, called me again to come and see the destroyed store building; but I was on a business trip on the outskirts of Jos and told him I would come the next day. When I arrived, I was shocked to see my property and livelihood (fish farm) falling apart and I didn’t even know the worst was yet to come. Garrison Commander Brigadier General I.Yu. Mohammed introduced himself and asked me at House how I was and I said everything was fine. He asked me if I had reported this to anyone, and I said no. Then he told me: “Listen to me carefully, the army is not responsible and will not pay you for damage.” Then he called their operator and ordered some officers to arrest me. He told them not to attack me. So I was arrested but not tortured.
How long have you been detained?
I was detained for 16 days without brushing my teeth or brushing my teeth; They forced me to urinate into an infected container; They made me sleep on a bare floor with no shelter. Although I was not tortured physically, I was tortured psychologically. I was also prone to hunger because we were only fed once a day. I am simply recovering from injury and treatment for glaucoma after being deprived of treatment for 16 days.
When you say “we,” does that mean that you were held together with other people?
Yes, I was arrested with many people.
Found the body of the missing general in the pond?
No, they didn’t.
Are your stores that have been demolished, rented out or used by you?
I have just completed a building for commercial purposes; the shops hadn’t been rented out yet, but I had some groceries and construction equipment housed in the building.
What is the value of the building?
Today the building has a cost of over 55 sq.m.
What were the economic implications of the demolition for you?
The vandalism of my earnings – a fish farm worth over £ 14 million – is enough to kill anyone in financial difficulty. I cannot pay tuition or do my duties at home.
Did the military apologize and compensate you?
No, they didn’t. I received threats. No compensation before date. Brigadier General Umar told me flatly that they would not pay.
Have you sued the Nigerian military over this?
There have been attempts to force the army to pay me compensation, but Brigadier General Umar continues to block him.
How exactly does Brigadier General Umar block compensation?
Brigadier General Umar blocks compensation with his previous comment that the military won’t pay…
Has this incident changed your perception of the Nigerian military?
I am very disappointed, especially the fact that I am the son of a retired soldier, at a time when the military needs the full support and cooperation of citizens. To be honest, at the very least, I’m heartbroken that the governing body that I sought to join as a child became a victim and continued to threaten a law-abiding citizen. I pray that the army chief of staff in his wisdom will change the narrative here.
How much compensation do you want?
I want the military to pay me adequate compensation for the destruction of my property and livelihood.
Source: The PUNCH