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King Dakolo Commends Military’s ‘Restraint’ in Bayelsa, Calls For Due Diligence

“What happened (in Okuama) is a national tragedy and everyone should see it as such,” says King Dakolo.

On Thursday, the chairman of Bayelsa Traditional Rulers Council, King Bubaraye Dakolo in an interview with ARISE NEWS, spoke about recent developments following the murder of 17 soldiers in Okuama. 

Speaking on President Tinubu’s directive that elders and traditional rulers in Delta state have a responsibility to give up those who committed the crime of killing the officers, he said, “What happened is a national tragedy and everyone should see it as such. 

“The press will need to also do what is called investigative journalism so that Nigerians will properly know what has transpired and what goes on. For the traditional rulers, I believe any law-abiding citizen will do his or her best to support the process of getting to the bottom of this national tragedy.”

King Dakolo praised the military for showing restraint and not carrying out unlawful actions in the search for the killers.

“I also particularly want to condole with the military top hierarchy and then applaud them to some extent, for all they have been trying to do and what they’ve said, employing restraint not to go all out and then act in manners that will not be nice.”

He also expressed confidence in the fact that justice will be served.

“The chief of defense staff is personally known to me, a well trained and excellent officer. The chief of army staff is well known to me, excellent officers. I believe that they will do everything properly to ensure that everyone is brought to book. However, no matter how it goes, Nigeria has to ensure that everybody concerned is brought to justice. Anything short of that means that we are just going to be postponing doomsday. This is not the first time and if we don’t get to the bottom and resolve the major issues behind it, then we’ll have this type of thing recurring maybe in the next week or in the next month.”

With regard to whether the killing of the soldiers in Okuama speaks to the weakness of Nigerian security agencies, he said, “From 1967 when the civil war started, the Nigerian police got cowed and of course over the years you know that NSCDC has come out of the police, EFCC from the police, Road Safety from the police, everybody comes out of the police.

“So the police have been so weakened that the only persons that are effective to some degree are the military. And you know the military ordinarily, is supposed to mind the territorial integrity of Nigeria.

“You’ll be lucky to find one or two police people who could do very well. For instance, the current Commissioner of Police in Bayelsa state. I think he has what it takes to do what he’s doing.

“The truth is the military is the only group of people who can do something reasonable to ensure that there is peace and security in that part of the world for now. But should that remain forever? No. There’s a reason why the military is separate from the police. If you have the military keep doing police job because they’re supposed to be dealing with the enemies of the state, in a while you begin to see the citizens of the state as enemies of the state. And then of course, you can’t blame them in that case. So there has to be a deliberate way of re-empowering the police, retraining the police and ensuring that police funds trickle down to everybody and then they’re able to do their job so there will be no repeat.”

King Dakolo also urged the military to carry out due diligence in their search for the killers and condemned the military’s invasion of the house of Elder statesman, Edwin Clark.

“For someone like Clark, the military must do due diligence. While the tempers are high and they want to quickly get at those who are suspects in this particular incident, they must be careful not to agitate the equilibrium that is in that general area, because going to Pa Clark’s house and not finding anybody there is a big embarrassment and should not repeat. So if you want to go anywhere you must do what is called due diligence, follow due process and ensure that you minimize the uproar that is going on because people are apprehensive and people are afraid.”

Melissa Enoch

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