…as Oborevwori seeks succour for families of the deceased

…Delta Police say standing back as Okuama is military operation

Service Chiefs, on Wednesday, appeared before the Senate Joint Committee to begin an investigative hearing on last Thursday’s gruesome killing of military personnel in Okuama community in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.
A minute of silence was observed for the souls of the slain soldiers.

Given the sensitivity of the matter, the Chairman of the joint committee, Ahmed Lawan, disclosed that the investigative hearing would be held behind closed doors.

Chief of Army Staff (COAS), Lt-General Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of Air Staff (CAS), Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar, and Chief of Naval Staff (CNS), Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla were present at the meeting while the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), General Christopher Musa, was represented.

The Senate had on Tuesday ordered a probe into the killing and directed its Committee on Defence, Army, Navy, and Air Force to liaise with the Military authorities to get more information on the remote and immediate cause of what it described as “a dastardly act.”

The Defence Headquarters had on Monday released the list of 17 military personnel killed in the attack during a peace mission to warring communities in the area.

Days after the gruesome murder, the Defence Headquarters said 17 personnel including the Commanding Officer of 181 Amphibious Battalion, two majors, one captain, and 12 personnel of the battalion were among those killed.

The gruesome murder has continued to draw condemnation from authorities in Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu described it as an attack on the nation and gave marching orders to security agencies to fish out the masterminds of the attack.

This is as Governor Sheriff Oborevwori of Delta State is seeking succour for the families of the slain soldiers.

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Governor Oborevwori expressed condolences with the families of the slain heroes and said it was his wish that the dead be given befitting burials and their families catered for.

He said: “The people that have been killed, the officers and soldiers, we must see how we can find succor for their families and give them a befitting burial.”

The visibly pained governor has also pledged to see that such an incident never again happens in the state and that the murderers are made to face the full force of the law.

He further assured innocent members of the community where the incident occurred that they would not be victimised.

Oborevwori made the statement, while speaking with newsmen after a closed- door meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the State House, Abuja.

He further stated: “What is happening now is something that we did not bargain for, but we want to assure everybody that there’ll be no more attacks on the villages, if there’s been anyone that had happened in the past… but we know that those who are culpable will be brought to book, but the innocent citizens will not be attacked.”
Meanwhile, amidst the ongoing efforts to maintain peace and security in the troubled Niger Delta community of Okuama, the Delta State Commissioner of Police, Olufemi Abaniwonda, has addressed the seeming absence of the police force in the community.
In an interview with Arise News on Wednesday, Abaniwonda said that while the police haven’t been able to get into Okuama because “it’s an ongoing military operation”, they are working hand in hand with other security agencies to make sure that the those who murdered 16 soldiers are caught.

“In the Okuama incident, we have an ongoing military operation there. We have been on ground, we have been supportive. We have not been missing in action. Technology has been an integral part of present day policing. These individuals are being tracked. Effort is being made to ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are brought to book. We are working in conjunction with other security agencies and I can assure you that we are making progress,” he said.

Regarding the current situation within the Okuama community, Abaniwonda said he would only provide a limited amount of information on the condition of the area.

“Most of the places are deserted. I would not like to say more than that. It’s an ongoing military operation. I think when these things are ongoing, it is better that things are not said that might aggravate or pass information to those who are looking for,” he said.

Addressing why the police haven’t gone into Okuama, he said there is a sister agency already in operation in the community and it would not be reasonable to go in while another agency is in operation.