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Okuama: Ex-DSS boss faults Army involvement in investigation

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Mike Ejiofor

A former Director of the Department of State Services, Mike Ejiofor, has said that the Nigerian Army being an interested party, should not be involved is in the the investigation of killing of 17 military personnel in Okuama community in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

Ejiofor stated this in while featuring as guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily on Thursday.

He also urges the Federal and State Governments to collaborate and set up independent investigative panels with representatives from both ends to probe what led to the incident in Okuama.

“The military is an interested party; they cannot undertake such an 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 out. We need to get to the root of this matter to know what really happened,” he said.

Ejiofor however faulted the decision of the military leadership to deploy a lieutenant colonel, two majors, one captain, and 13 other military personnel to settle a land dispute between the villages of Okuama and Okoloba.

He said, “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 team 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.

“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.”

The former DSS boss, however, urge the military to involve the police and DSS operatives in civilian assignments going forward.

“If there is a peacekeeping, two parties must be involved; people from the two communities must be involved, and a neutral ground will be taken, possibly the local government headquarters, if you are talking of peace initiative.

“And then, why must the military? In fact, the military exposes itself in harm’s way. If the police, the DSS, and the military were involved in this (operation), I don’t think we would have seen this kind of incident. We are not justifying the killing, but it’s a lesson for all of us, for the military.

“You don’t blame the military too much because they have been so much involved in military matters that the military will now go for peace initiatives without civil authorities. I still don’t get it.” he noted.

News broke earlier in the week of the killing of 17 military personnel on Okuama, in Ughelli South Local Government area of Delta State.

According to a report by Chronicle NG, the military personnel were killed while responding to a distress call amid a confrontation between the Okuama and Okoloba villages in Delta State on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

 

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