Okuama: Soldiers’ killers not from Niger Delta – Akpabio

SENATE President Godswill Akpabio has expressed doubt that the killers of soldiers on a peace mission in Okuama community, Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta, are from the Niger Delta region.

He has also vowed that the Senate would constitute a committee to ascertain whether the killers were mercenaries.

Akpabio stated these during a debate on the killings at the plenary session on Tuesday, March 20.

He emphasised that no community would resort to killing such a large number of its nation’s soldiers.

The ICIR  reported how 15 military personnel, consisting of two majors, one captain, and 12 soldiers were murdered allegedly by some youths in the Okuoma community.

The incident occurred on Thursday, March 14, when the deceased were responding to a crisis between Okuama and Okoloba communities in Delta State.

The attack has, however, generated public outrage as many Nigerians are demanding that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

They are also appealing to the military against launching an attack on the entire community, as the community has been burnt down and its residents fleeing.

Reports as of Tuesday, March 19 indicated that 20 suspected had been arrested over the killings.

Addressing other senators during the plenary session on Tuesday, Akpabio announced that a panel would be set up to ensure those responsible for the killings were brought to justice.

“I don’t want to conclude that these people are from Niger Delta, because we respect men and women in uniform. That is why I am saying that your additional prayer should be to carry out a thorough investigation to know whether they were mercenaries outside Nigeria, who came in to commit this crime because I don’t think these people are from Niger Delta.

“We are not at war. Even in the field of war, to lose such a number of personnel, no community will go to the extent of doing that kind of thing; I don’t think they are from Niger Delta. So I think the first point should be that we should establish the culprits who committed this crime,” said Akpabio, a former governor of Akwa-Ibom State, one of the oil-rich Niger Delta states. 

The Senate President’s statement came after Senators Abdullaziz Yar’adua of Katsina and Ede Dafinone of Delta State moved a motion to investigate the attacks.






     

     

    While moving the motion, Yar’adua, urged the Federal Government to recruit more policemen to take charge of internal security, while the military should be allowed to perform the key function of protecting the country from external aggression.

    On his part, the Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, described the killing of the soldiers as despicable and inhuman, stressing that no stone should be left unturned to bring the perpetrators to book.

    “What happened is despicable. It is inhuman and it is something that cannot be accepted. We need to commiserate with the Nigerian Armed Forces and indeed the entire nation, to condole the immediate families of the fallen heroes and the Nigerian military for what happened.

    “These were men that were trained by the Nigerian government and huge resources spent on them to defend the territorial integrity of this country and keep us safe as a nation. Now, they were killed for no reason; not at a time of conflict, not at the war front, they were just murdered in the worst fashion that you can think about,” Jibrin said.

    Usman Mustapha is a solution journalist with International Centre for Investigative Reporting. You can easily reach him via: [email protected]. He tweets @UsmanMustapha_M

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