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Delta Governor Oborevwori Warns Traditional Rulers Against Hiding Soldiers’ Killers, Seeks Collaboration

Oborevwori has told traditional rulers that hiding soldiers’ killers can put innocent lives at risk.

Delta State Governor Sheriff Oborevwori has, on Thursday, 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, on Thursday, 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.

Chuks Okocha

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