Mr Ayotunde Fatokun, a member of the Oyo State House of Assembly, has called for the relocation of the shooting range being used by the 2 Division of the Nigerian Army, Ibadan.
The lawmaker told newsmen in Ibadan on Tuesday that projectiles from shooting exercises by the army were endangering lives and damaging properties around the range.
Fatokun said projectiles during shooting exercises often hit buildings in communities such as Omilabu, Dominion and Aroro-Makinde in his constituency.
The lawmaker said the investigation had indicated that the projectiles damage walls and roofs of buildings in the communities as well as threaten lives.
He claimed that an on-the-spot assessment to the communities proved that the residents were at risk of being hit by the projectiles.
“We saw a lot of buildings abandoned by their owners as a result of projectiles already inside their buildings and had caused damage to their property.
“In fact, I have some of the projectiles collected from the affected house owners to prove the fact that truthfully bullets entered their houses,” he said.
He called for the relocation of the shooting range, saying its continued usage was a threat to lives and properties in the area.
“These people can not continue to abandon their houses or be praying for safety against bullets in their abode.
”The people do not want the army to continue shooting at the range because of its effect on the communities.”
The lawmaker, however, said that he was looking forward to bringing the army and the representatives of the affected communities together to find a permanent solution to the issue.
The army, it would be recalled, had dismissed the allegation of projectiles hitting buildings in the area, saying a distance of 2,000 metres exists between the “stop-butt’’ of the range and the communities.
The Division’s Deputy Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Hassan Mohammed, on July 15 told newsmen that the effective range of the main weapon being used (Ak47 rifle) was 800 metres.
Mohammed argued that it was impossible for the projectile to travel up to a distance of 2,000 metres and wreak havoc as claimed by the communities.
He said that the stop-butt at the range was designed to absorb and prevent any projectile from travelling out of the range area.
According to the army spokesman, bullets fired in the range are flat trajectory and aimed at specific targets placed at the base of the stop-butt.
He said it was impossible for the bullets to fly above the stop-butt.
Mohammed further explained that the distance from the stop-butt to the cantonment’s fence toward the community was more than 1,000 metres.
He said that any bullet going beyond the stop-butt would fall within the army’s acquired 7,200 acres of land.
Mohammed said that the army acquired the land for the cantonment in 1974.