Oborevwori to Traditional Rulers: If You Shield Criminals, You Are Inviting Trouble

Oborevwori to Traditional Rulers: If You Shield Criminals, You Are Inviting Trouble

*We won’t rest until we arrest killers of our men, recover our weapons, GOC vows

Says through recovery operations in Okuama, army will make sure no one ever attacks it again

* Independent probe of killing will indict VIPs, ex-DSS director hints 

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Delta State Governor Sheriff Oborevwori, yesterday, warned traditional rulers in the state against hiding persons involved in the killing of three military officers and 13 soldiers in Okuama community, Ughelli South Local Government Area of the state, saying those covering criminals are inviting trouble to themselves.
The warning came as General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army and Land Component Commander, Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe, Major General Jamal Abdussalam, yesterday, vowed that the troops conducting operations over the murder of their men would not rest until weapons carted away were recovered and the perpetrators were apprehended.
A visibly angry Abdussalam further said through the recovery operations in Okuama, the army would make sure no one ever attacked its troops again.
But former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor, called for an independent probe of the killings, stating that an objective inquiry would indict some very important persons (VIPs).

Oborevwori gave the warning when he addressed traditional rulers on the incident at the State Traditional Rulers’ Council Secretariat in Asaba.
The governor, who said the act of killing soldiers was alien to the state, described it as barbaric, inhumane, and unacceptable. He vowed that those who committed the evil act must be made to face the full wrath of the law.
He said no kingdom should shield the perpetrators of the act, adding that Delta is governed within the tenets of the rule of law and human decency.
Oborevwori said, “On the 7th of February, we summoned the people of Okoloba and Okuoma communities in Bomadi and Ughelli South local government areas, including the members representing the two constituencies in the state House of Assembly, the council chairmen, and their Presidents-General, where we advised them that a lot has been happening in their area and they signed a peace accord.

“The killing of these army officers and soldiers came as a rude shock to us and when this thing happened, I immediately called the National Security Adviser, the Chief of Defence Staff and the Army Staff because I was in Abuja. I came back and issued a press statement.
“On Monday, I went to Bomadi to meet with all the security chiefs, where we had our security council meeting and I got briefings from the Brigade Commander. In attendance was the G.O.C 6 Division Nigeria Army, Maj Gen Jamil Abdussalam, and the JTF Commander, Real Admiral John Okeke.
“After the meeting, I went to Abuja to meet with Mr. President to brief him on what happened. I also went to see the Chief of Army Staff to discuss with him. I also meet with the National Security Adviser and the Inspector General of Police.

“I felt that it is also proper that I brief you people even though you may be aware. Those people, who committed that evil act, must face the wrath of the law. No kingdom should shield those criminals because Delta State is governed by the tenets of the law and human decency.
“We cannot tolerate that. It has never happened in this state –to kill one Lt. Colonel, two Majors, one Captain and 13 soldiers. We need to fish out those involved.
“Do not hide or shield anybody. The Chief of Army Staff and Mr. President have assured me that innocent people will not be victimised unless you connive with the killers of the soldiers.

“I have briefed you and make sure that you fish them out from your kingdoms. If any traditional ruler shields a criminal, that traditional ruler is inviting trouble.
“We did not bargain for this evil act but for peace, I don’t want crisis. I have also received information that two other villages are boiling to fight. They should not fight, we want peace in all our communities.
“What are they fighting for? I have promised you people that I am going to do more for Deltans, so what are they fighting for? All of us are Deltans and we want development.

“For the first time in almost two decades, we had peace in Warri in December and people celebrated in peace. Now we have communal crisis, why?
“I condemn it and it’s unacceptable. So, please, my dear royal fathers, let us be on the same page to fish out these people. Don’t allow anybody who committed this evil act to come to your kingdoms and bring problem to your community.
“Tell us and we will hand them over to security agencies. You should not play politics with this. Don’t say that the army has taken over your village, because they cannot just come to your village without getting information. But I assure you people that no innocent person will be victimised.
“Tell your people not to encourage crisis because if you do, you cannot come out of it. Some people don’t have knowledge of what is happening and they start talking. What I did was to go and brief the commander-in-chief and later granted the State House Correspondents interview.”
Chairman, Delta State Traditional Rulers Council, His Royal Majesty, Maj. Gen. Felix Mujakperuo, (retd), said they were on the same page with the governor to ensure peace and security in the state.

Mujakperuo said the security of the various kingdoms would translate to security of the state and the country, and called for a judicial panel of enquiry to unravel the immediate and remote causes of the crisis.
Oborevwori also briefed the Delta State Advisory and Peace Building Council, and urged the council to talk to the people on the need to maintain peace across state.
He said government would not allow troublemakers to discourage investors from coming to the state, adding that sustainable peace is needed to attract investors.
Chairman of the council, Professor Sam Oyovbaire, commended the governor for his efforts to ensure peace and security across the state, and stressed that council members supported the peace building moves of the governor.
Oyovbaire appealed to communities across the state to give peace a chance for the overall development of the state.

GOC: We Won’t Rest Until We Recover Our Weapons, Arrest Killers

 General Officer Commanding (GOC) 6 Division of the Nigerian Army and Land Component Commander, Joint Task Force (JTF), Operation Delta Safe, Major General Jamal Abdussalam, vowed that they would not rest until weapons carted away and killers of their men were apprehended.
Abdussalam said the troops would be firm, strong, decisive and professional in the cause of the operations in the general area.
He made the vow while receiving Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief (Dr) Samuel Ogbuku, who paid him a condolence visit at the division’s headquarters in Port Harcourt Barracks.

While appreciating Ogbuku and his team for the visit, Abdussalam said the mission handed to troops by the Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Taoreed Lagbaja, was basically to recover the weapons carted away by the killers and ensure that all those involved were arrested.
While maintaining that the troops would continue to be in the creeks until the objectives were achieved, the GOC reiterated that no amount of propaganda, arm-twisting, blackmail, intimidation, and false narratives would distract troops from staying on course to achieve their objectives.
However, he said the operations would be conducted in the most professional manner in line with global best practices of adherence to rules of engagement and respect for the fundamental human rights of the citizenry.

He called on people of the Niger Delta to go about their normal activities.
Abdussalam also appealed to people and communities to assist troops with regard to the location of the fleeing criminals and the weapons carted away. He said the armed forces were the symbol of the country’s sovereignty, stressing that President Bola Tinubu captured it succinctly when he said an attack on the armed forces was an attack on the country.
“Therefore, if we allow criminals to continue to attack our security forces, there will be anarchy,” the GOC said.
Abdussalam vowed that the troops would not rest until all those involved were tracked down to account for their deeds and said the operation would be conducted in a way that, going forward, nobody would contemplate attacking men in uniform.

He also said false narratives and propaganda would not deter troops from fishing out the criminals.

The GOC expressed appreciation to the NNDC managing director and his team for identifying with the Nigerian Army at this moment of grief. He said there could not be development without peace and security, thus, the two institutions would continue to work together for the common good of society.

He called on well-meaning members of the society to avail the Nigerian Army with credible intelligence on where to get the criminals and ensure they answer for their crimes.

Ogbuku, while commiserating with the GOC, reiterated that without peace in the Niger Delta, there would not be development.

Independent Probe will Indict VIPs, Says Ex-DSS Director

Former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor, called for an independent probe of the killing of the 16 military personnel, stating that an objective inquiry would indict some very important persons (VIP).

Ejiofor, who was a guest on a television programme, yesterday, wondered why a lieutenant colonel, two majors, one captain and 12 other military personnel would be deployed to settle a land dispute.

According to the former DSS director, “The federal or state government should set up this or harmonise: the state government brings representatives, the federal government brings representatives to form a very high-powered, independent investigation that will come up with an objective report of what happened.

“Because as it is now, people are scampering. Some people that might be indicted in this investigation, because a lieutenant colonel, two majors cannot on their own just move out on a peace-keeping mission in a community. There is so much to this incident that must be found out.”

Ejiofor said the Nigerian Army was an interested party in the matter and should not probe the grievous incident in the oil-rich South-south state.

The former director of the secret police urged the federal government and the Delta State government to set up a “high-powered, independent investigation” to unravel the circumstances behind the deployment of the military personnel, including the Commanding Officer of the 181 Amphibious Battalion, on a peace-keeping mission to warring Bomadi and Okuama communities engaged in a land dispute.

He stated, “The military is a party interested. They cannot undertake such investigation. By now, the federal government or the state government must have set up an investigative panel to look into this matter because time is running. We need to get to the root of this matter to know what really happened.”

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