…CLO, IYC condemn military invasion
…We’ve concluded plans to sue 222 Battalion—Ogogoro union
…I’ve not been sleeping well since last Thursday — Commander
By Emma Amaize, Samuel Oyadongha, Emem Idio & Chancel Sunday
BOMADI— OGOGOORO (local gin) sellers, transporters and auto mechanics in Bomadi, Bomadi Local Government Area, Delta State, yesterday, expressed frustration over the alleged destruction of their drinks worth over N10 million, motorcycles, tricycles, vehicle windscreens, tyres and speedboat outboard engines by soldiers of the 222 Battalion, Bomadi, hunting for militants that killed a soldier at Ogbogbogbane, Burutu Local Government Area of the state, last Thursday.
Chairlady Bomadi-Overside Ogogoro Union, Mrs Dogood Bribai; Vice Chairlady, Mrs Tuku Black, and Secretary, Ms Peggy Fineman, told reporters in Bomadi that members of the union had already taken a decision to sue the command to for the destruction of their sources of livelihood.
Chairman of National Union of Road Transport Workers, NURTW, Mr Stephen Eniekezimene, also said soldiers punctured tyres and destroyed windscreens of over 40 vehicles belonging to members.
Similarly, Chairman-General of Commercial Motorcycles Operators Association, popularly called Okada riders, Bomadi chapter, Ebiotu Ebareotu, lamented that motorcycles and tricycles belonging to members were destroyed.
In the same vein, Association of Auto-Mechanic Engineers, Bomadi-Overside, speaking through Mr Christopher Joseph, said outboard engines and generating sets such as Yamaha 75, 45, 25, 15 and others were destroyed.
CLO condemns military invasion
Meanwhile, the leadership of the Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO in Bayelsa State has condemned the military invasion of some communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of the state.
CLO, in a statement in Yenagoa by its state Chairman, Chief Nengi James, said the armed invasion and irresponsible arrest of women and the elderly under the guise of searching for the killers of a military personnel was unjust, provocative and an attempt to erode the existing peace achieved by Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo.
CLO said: “Worried indigenes of the coastal towns confirmed to CLO that affected communities have been deserted with children and women hiding in the bushes. While condemning the dastardly act of some irate youths involved in the killing of the soldier, we call on the Chief of Army Staff and the Chief of Defence Staff to call the troops engaged in these acts of mayhem to order and stop harassing and intimidating women and children.
“We also call on the human rights community to beam their search light on the Niger Delta as the peace accord entered between the region and the Federal Government is about to be blown away. Assuming they eventually arrest those allegedly involved in the killing of the soldiers, who will rebuild the damaged communities? Who will assuage the anger the troops have provoked?”
Also, the newly elected executive members of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Central Zone, have described the invasion of some communities in Bayelsa State by men of the Nigerian Army as unacceptable, just as they condemned in strong terms the killing of a soldier by suspected militants in area.
Addressing newsmen, yesterday, in Yenagoa, Chairman of IYC, Central Zone, Mr. Tari Pourri, flanked by other executive members, faulted the military approach to the matter and expressed concern that if the situation was not properly manage, it could degenerate to further crisis.
He appealed to the Chief of Army Staff and Commander of Operation Delta Safe to intervene and call their men to order.
I’ve not been sleeping well since last Thursday— Commander
However, contacted, Commanding Officer, 222 Battalion, Bomadi Local Government Area, Lt Adediran Olumide, said: “I need not say something on phone because I do not know who will misinterpret it. But I just want to tell you that nobody is happy over what happened.
“No civilian is happy that they killed a soldier, the weapon that they carried away, nobody is happy because I am very sure they might not use that weapon against soldiers, but the civilians living around.
“Since that day, I have not been sleeping well, I have not been getting myself right; soldiers having issues with people in Bomadi, people in Bomadi having issues with soldiers, this and that. Is this how people are supposed to behave now when we are trying to quench a fire?
“Our people do not understand this life that if anything happens to somebody, even your enemy, do not laugh at him, do not mock him because it might make him to increase his anger against you.
“My appeal to the community (people of Bomadi) is just that they should please just take heart, accept me for who I am for now. I will say I am not happy for all that has happened and it is beyond my reasoning, beyond my power, beyond my understanding.”
Ogogoro traders threaten to protest nude
The Ogogoro traders led by their chairlady, Mrs. Bribai, however, argued that killing a soldier at Ogbobagbene community in Burutu Local Government Area did not warrant destruction of their goods and sources of livelihood in Bomadi council, an action they described as inhuman and barbaric in a democratic setting.
They called on the military formation to be ready to kill all the traders, adding that they had already concluded plans to stage a nude protest to the base of the command at Bomadi-Overside.
They said business activities had already been grounded as their customers, who mostly come from Benue, Kogi and Anambra states have been scared away for fear of losses and harassment by the rampaging soldiers.
They called on state government to speedily intervene if really it represents the people, as members of the union were ready to carry their own cross having lost their livelihood to soldiers who take laws into their own hands in a democratic setting.