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Soldiers raid another Delta community, arrest 10, raze houses

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Nigerian soldiers

Soldiers conducted a raid yesterday following the March 14th incident in which 17 military personnel were killed at Okuama in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State. 

During the raid, they reportedly entered another village, Olota, and detained at least ten people.

This occurred on the same day that Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, and retired judges slammed the Board of Inquiry established by Defence Headquarters to examine the March 14 killing of military soldiers in Okuama, Ughelli South Local Government of Delta State, claiming it lacked the authority to do so.

However, newsmen were unable to reach Olota’s President-General, Prosper Evuarherhe, but an eyewitness reported that the military soldiers left with the community’s chairman, Matthew Olokpa, and over ten others.

He said, “The over 200 soldiers entered Olota in three gunboats this morning (yesterday). They held the Chairman, Matthew Olokpa, Bigi Edjekpewhu, German Obiokute, Kenneth Okorodudu Atua, and others.”

The witness mentioned that the soldiers razed some houses in the community, 50 kilometers from Okuama, and took with them almost all the speedboats they sighted in the jetty.

“Gunshots roared in Olota today (yesterday); we ask those in authority to intervene and tell the soldiers to leave Olota in peace. They left with those apprehended—no fewer than 10 people. They burned Germany’s house and two others and destroyed one.

“They also left with many speedboats at the jetty belonging to residents. They beat the community chairman to a stupor before they moved him with the others, along with a 75-engine-powered boat belonging to Kenneth. This latest crisis may not be connected with Okuama.”

Remember that more than a week earlier, the army searched the same hamlet and others, including Arhavwarien, Orere, and Omosuomo, for weaponry and ammunition stolen from deceased troops and fleeing suspects.

Meanwhile, Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) and former judges have slammed the Board of Inquiry established by Defence Headquarters to examine the March 14 killing of military soldiers in Okuama, Ughelli South Local Government, Delta State.

They advised the federal government that the appropriate course of action would be to establish a judicial commission of inquiry into the occurrence or to request that the Delta State government do so.

The military panel, led by Air Vice-Marshal David Ajayi, began meeting on Wednesday in Warri. The Okuama community, whose leaders and counsel said that the displaced inhabitants were hiding and suffering in the forests as a result of the Army’s cordon-and-search operation, refused to attend the hearing.

However, six delegates from the Okoloba village in Bomadi Local Government Area, whose border dispute with Okuama precipitated the terrible incident, appeared before the Ajayi-led board of inquiry on Wednesday afternoon, with officials preventing reporters from covering the proceedings.

Speaking to the press, Olorogun Albert Akpomudje, SAN, and Life Bencher, former Attorney-General of Akwa Ibom State, Uwemedimo Nwoko, SAN, and retired President of the Delta State Area Customary Court, Miakpor Emiaso, said the Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, did not have the power to set up a public inquiry into the Okuama incident.

Olayiwola Afolabi, SAN, and Chief Magistrate E.O. Eferakoro, retd., called on the federal government to order the Army to vacate Okuama.

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