Posted by News Express | 6 June 2016 | 2,679 times
In less than 24 hours after soldiers withdrew from Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State which they had occupied since a week, another detachment of troops yesterday raided Ogulaghan community around 8:20 a.m.
They were in search of members of the militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) who last Friday again bombed the Shell Export Terminal at Forcados, Warri South West Council, Delta State.
The pipeline which had been attacked and bombed in the past was undergoing repairs when it was destroyed again by the militants who had warned that it should not be repaired.
According to the Chairman of Ogulaghan Kingdom chapter of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Doubra Collins Okotete, well armed soldiers around 8:20 a.m. yesterday raided Ogulaghan community, harassed, intimidated and arrested some persons whom he said were innocent, over the Shell Export Terminal Pipeline that was blown up.
He gave the names of those arrested as: Chief Peter Tuasinde, Mr. Clement Ibada, Mr. John Borme, Mr. Goddey Miebi, the community chairman Capt. Solomon Prebor and community Public Relations Officer, Mr. Agediga Henrey.
Okotete said: “For over 50 years of oil exploration and exploitation in our kingdom, our people have always co-operated, supported and created the enabling environment for peaceful operations despite the marginalisation shown in return to our people by these multinational oil companies.
“We strongly condemned the recent raid and arrest of our people. We are calling on the Joint Task Force to release and correct the anomalies done to our people.”
And the Ayakoromo community which, a few years ago, was invaded and destroyed by soldiers, yesterday denied the rumours making the rounds that sponsors of the Niger Delta Avengers and their arsenal were being hidden in the community.
The community, according to its spokesman, Arerebo Salaco Yerinmene Peter’s Jnr, was shocked when their attention was drawn to an online news publication purportedly accusing some illustrious Ijaw sons namely Frank Omare, Chief Johnny Aribogha and Chief Boro Pudu as the sponsors of the Niger Delta Avengers.
“This same publication on June 4, 2016 also alleged that members of the Niger Delta Avengers are domiciled in Ayakoromo to get arms reinforcement.
“This is the highest exhibition of falsehood embellished with hateful propaganda. Though we are not the legal counsel nor spokespersons to the accused persons and as such not entitled to speak on their behalf, we make this swift response that the report is a calculated attempt to blackmail illustrious sons of Ijaw nation and justify another genocidal attack against the good people of Ayakoromo community,” he said.
The spokesman disclosed that Ayakoromo community is a peace-loving community that does not harbour nor encourage antisocial vices.
According to him, the community has always driven away any of its citizens whose presence constitutes a threat to the stability of the community.
Also, indigenes of Oporoza which had been under military occupation for a week said soldiers broke into houses under the guise of looking for militants and weapons and in the process looted the entire community. They added that the departing soldiers withdrew from the community on Saturday with their loot.
The Spokesman of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Chief Godspower Gbenekema, said the soldiers took away two new speed boats belonging to the Gbaramatu Traditional Council and vandalised the community’s guest house where they had forcibly stayed. He said the community was still estimating the total items looted from the community by soldiers.
•Excerpted from The Guardian. Photo shows troops on duty.
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