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Kemepade: So Many Loose Ends Observed Regarding Okuama Killings

Former IYC secretary Kemepade has called for thorough military intelligence investigation to prevent wrongful targeting in Okuama military killings.

Former secretary general of Ijaw youth council and a member of Governor Diri’s team to Igbomotoru community, Alfred Kemepade has called for a total root cause analysis of the killing of military men in Okuama community in Delta State.

Kemepade in an interview with ARISE NEWS on Wednesday, stated that there are lots of loose ends and conspiracy theories that suggest that the cause of the incident is far from the land dispute which was reported.

“There should be a total root cause analysis of this whole issue so that we don’t have a repeat of this because the incident happened in Okuama but it is spilling over to Igbomotoru and so this is like a case study for many other happenings, not just in the Niger Delta but also around the country. When you go through the whole story, there are many loose ends, assumptions, leading and misleading information.

“Let me throw more light on what I mean. Yesterday (Tuesday), I watched an interview with Egberi Papa and where he said his residence was invaded because he was suspected to have harboured the criminals of the Okuama incident but at the end of the day, I don’t think that has turned out to be so. Weeks before now, we heard how the house of our elder statesman, Edwin Clarke’s house was defiled and disrespected because the information was that he was housing militants but it didn’t turn out to be so. So, the question you want to ask is, where are all these pieces of information coming from that is not leading to what it is supposed to lead to?

He also stated that given the many conspiracy theories making rounds on the internet, there is need to probe deeper to ensure the military isn’t misled into targeting perceived adversaries and also to avoid a repeat of the incident in the country.

“There are lots of conspiracy theories around this incident. Don’t forget that pundits have also said that this may be an oil related crisis which is not new in the Niger Delta. How much is land in Okuama? It breeds curiosity that the strategic team of the military, this particular division of the military is far away in Agbor, moved down to the creeks to settle land disputes?  We need to know what really happened to make sure that this doesn’t repeat. We need to begin to ask very relevant questions to make sure that no group of people or persons are taking advantage of the situation to mislead the military into carrying on operations against perceived enemies.”

Meanwhile, the Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri, in his visit to Igbomotoru communities in Southern Ijaw local government area, has urged the people to return home, adding that the Nigerian Army has assured the state government of their safety.

Soldiers had earlier been deployed in the communities in search of the masterminds of the killing of 17 soldiers at Okuama in Delta State.

Further speaking in the interview, Kemepade stated reassuringly, that calmness has returned to the Igbomotoru communities and that the governor had the assurance of the military that no innocent person would pay for the crimes of the perpetrators.

“We observed calmness in the Igbomotoru community even though there is military presence and I can also confirm that apart from a particular building that hosted the alleged Endurance that was razed, no other house was touched and everyone is calm and going about their business in the community.

“The governor has been in touch with the military command, the chief of defense staff to all other top military officials, including the 16th brigade commander who was there with us, so we have the assurances and have no reason to doubt the military. We have always said that innocent people should not die for the sin of the culprit that they are looking for. What is even more important is for us to continue to encourage the military to painstakingly investigate the issue and ensure that it is the perpetrators that are brought to book and not innocent people. At the end of the day, I believe that the military, in collaboration with other security agencies such as the police, and the DSS should work towards bringing the culprits to book.

“Igbomotoru is in two phases and the incident happened one of the phases and that’s the much we know now but I must mention that the community has been cut off from food supply and so part of Governor Diri took down to the community was foodstuff and monetary gifts to the members of the community so that they can take better care of themselves.”

Chioma Kalu

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