Police unable to access Okuama – Commissioner

THE Delta State Commissioner of Police, Abaniwonda Olufemi, has said the police had been unable to access the troubled Okuama in the Bomadi Local Government Area of the state, where 15 soldiers were confirmed killed by suspected youths on Thursday, March 14.

In an interview with Arise TV on Wednesday, March 20, Olufemi stated that he would need clearance before deploying officers to the area.

He said the police had been supportive in the ongoing investigation to fish out the killers.

This was as the Senate president Godswill Akpabio expressed doubt that the soldiers’ killers were from the Niger Delta region.

Akpabio stated this during a debate on the killings at the plenary session on Tuesday, March 20, emphasising 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 Okuama community.

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

Reacting to the situation, the state police commissioner said the atmosphere had been calm, adding that most of the area was deserted. 

He said the Okuama and Okoloba communities had had perennial disputes over fishing rights. 

“We have not been able to move into this community. Of course, it is our responsibility as the primary line of defence in internal security. But when you have another sister agency conducting an operation, the reasonable thing to do is to wait for them to finish.



    “We have not been able to get into Okuama because of the volatile nature of what is going on around that environment.

    “I might not be able to accurately respond to these questions [if buildings are torched or more civilian casualties have occurred], but what is important to note is that these things are ongoing. We must seek to be collaborative.

    “For us to get to Okoloba or Okuama, we must get clearance.”

    Olufemi further stressed that the clearance would be obtained from either a military theatre commander or the operation commander, noting that he had to be sure that the military’s presence would not hurt the officers he would send in.

    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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