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Edwin Clark To Military: Enough Is Enough, Don’t Take The Law Into Your Own Hands in Okuama

Ijaw leader Clark says the murder of military officers is a call to examine the Nigeria Police.

The Ijaw Nation Leader and elder statesman, Edwin Clark, has appealed to the Nigerian military to act maturely and not take the law into their own hands following the alleged retaliatory attacks on the Okuama community which was reportedly carried out by the military.

The Ijaw leader has urged the military to instead channel their energy into fishing out the perpetrators of the ambush and murder of the military officers.

This follows the unfortunate ambush of members of the 181 Army Amphibious Battalion, in which the Commanding Officer, two majors, one captain and 12 soldiers were killed on their way to the Okuama community to carry out a peace mission between Okuama and Okoloba, who has been in conflict over a land dispute.

Reacting to the deaths of these officers, Clark said, “What happened a few days ago is very shocking, very barbaric, wicked, and unforgivable. I think what is required really, the military together with the communities, all of us, should take it as a task to look for these people who committed this murder. It is very, very important.”

Clark however said that as distraught as he was over this situation, “we have a duty not allow this thing to escalate, we must all put our heads together.”

He then appealed to the military, asking them to focus on fishing out the culprits of the killings as he said, “My appeal to our gallant soldiers is that they should act maturely, and not to take the law into their own hands. I know they are provoked, we are all provoked, but that’s not enough. There are innocent children, pregnant women everywhere. So, as far as I’m concerned, we should appeal to the military to take it easy. They have modern technology, they should be able to fish out very soon those who committed this crime.

“So, the grudge against the ordinary citizens, one would be angry that since such a thing happened in a place. So, one would not blame the army so much for whatever that must have happened, it’s all collateral damages. What I’m saying, enough is enough, the military should sit back.

“We’re all Nigerians, and those who must have been responsible for this, they are not many. They’re not many. Whoever hired them, wherever they come from, they should be fished out, that should be the main duty of the army.”

However, when Edwin Clark was asked if there was a possibility that those who killed the officers were outsiders, he disagreed, saying, “Nobody knew that they were going there. So, for people to come from outside to waylay them, to surround them, it’s a matter we should investigate. We can’t rule anything out, but at the same time, let’s look at ourselves. The leaders of the various communities must be brought together, find out from them.”

Clark was then questioned if the settling of land disputes was in the job description of the army, to which he responded, “We Nigerians, we are people of double standard. We use the army, when we are using them, we don’t know that this is not their job. They are Nigerians, if they, they are told that such crisis is happening in the place and they went out to maintain peace, this is a matter for the police, but if they were not there, what would happen?

“The same army has been used by everybody. Governors are not supposed to have military men in their houses. People are not supposed to have military people in their houses. Everybody has the army, they are looking for their own safety, their own security. When things are wrong, then you blame them, why?

“This is a prior call to the police. Let us examine our police. What are they doing? With all this happening, we have never heard of any police action.”

Ozioma Samuel-Ugwuezi

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