Chief Edwin Clark, an elder statesman and National Leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has criticized a military attack on his country residence in Kiagbodo Local Government Area, Delta State, in response to the recent killing of soldiers in the state.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, he described how he was bombarded with calls for military personnel to invade his rural residence in search of a suspect linked to the deaths of 17 troops in Okuama.

The Ijaw leader claimed that someone, later identified as the Commanding Officer of the Nigerian Army’s Division in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, apologized on behalf of the army for the raid.

According to him, the military guys arrived in five trucks laden with approximately 30 to 40 armed soldiers, while flying drones were stationed within the grounds.

Clark said: “Some of them went to the buildings behind the main house and broke all the doors that were locked. They matched out my staff living in those buildings, including lecturers at the university, and made them to `sit on bare ground.

“They also broke into my late brother, Ambassador Akporode Blessing Clark’s house. He served this country internationally in various capacities, including as Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as both of us share the same premises. They brought out his son almost naked, as the young man was taking a bath when they stormed the house.

“All their phones were seized. The people had to identify themselves, and they told them (soldiers) whose house it was before they asked for my telephone number, which they said they would pass to their ‘oga’ before they all departed.

“One would have expected that at this juncture, a call could have been put to the Governor of Delta State to inform him of what happened.”

The elder statesman said the incident was “beyond coincidence” but a source of concern.

He recounted a similar raid on his Abuja home on September 4, 2018, describing the authorisation of such raids as “disrespectful and unlawful”, having served the country nearly 70 years in different capacities.

“I want to end this write-up by addressing all concerned with what I told President Muhammadu Buhari when my security details were withdrawn. If I die today as a result of a natural occurrence, it will be a joyful celebration. But if my death is linked to any dubious means by some overzealous state actors, no one can tell how far the fire will rage. This is not a threat. It is an acknowledgement of God’s mercies on me,” Clark added.

Also, the 17 army personnel killed in Delta State are to be buried today at the National Cemetery in Abuja.

Army’s spokesperson Maj.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, who announced it yesterday, said President Bola Tinubu would attend the burial, slated for 3 p.m.

The names of the four officers are: Lt.-Col. A. H. Ali, Major Safa, Major D. E. Obi, and Captain U. Zakari.

The 13 soldiers are: Staff Sergeant Yahaya Saidu, Corporal Yahaya Danbaba, Corporal Kabir Bashir, Lance Corporals Bulus Haruna, Sole Opeyemi, Bello Anas, Haman Peter, and Ibrahim Abdullahi.

The rest are: Privates Alhaji Isah, Clement Francis, Abubakar Ali, Ibrahim Adamu, and Adamu Ibrahim.

Also, the member representing Southern Ijaw Federal Constituency of Bayelsa State in the House of Representatives, Rodney Ebikebina Ambaiowei, has called for caution and professionalism in the handling of the killing of 17 soldiers in Okuama community of Delta State.

Addressing reporters yesterday at the National Assembly in Abuja, he said: “I am aware that the Nigerian Army has the capacity to gather intelligence within a short period. The execution of such intelligence reports should be done with utmost caution to minimise collateral damage to innocent and law abiding citizens.

“I say this, bearing in mind the invasion and carnage that took place in Odi in November 1999 following the killing of some soldiers and policemen which remains fresh in our memories. Caution and professionalism must be the watch word to forestall unpleasant and regrettable consequences in the approach to bringing the culprits to book.”



StatePress is an online newspaper with wide and extensive coverage of socio political events in the Nigerian States, African Continent and beyond.  We break the news, focus on issues without bias and maintain highest level of professionalism in discharging our social responsibility.

Post A Comment: