Senators seek committee's power devolution,

Delta killings: Senate orders investigation, as Oborevwori briefs Tinubu

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The Senate on Tuesday mandated its Committees on Defence, Army, Air Force and Navy to immediately investigate the circumstances that led to the killing of an army commander, three officers and 12 other soldiers by yet-to-be-identified attackers in Okuama community of Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State on March 14.

Meanwhile, the Delta State governor, Sheriff Oborevwori visited President Bola Tinubu in Aso Rock to brief him on the incident.

The soldiers, who were from the 181 Amphibious Battalion, were deployed in the community on a peace mission following the escalation of a communal crisis in the area. However, unknown gunmen ambushed and murdered them in what the Senate described as being in “a most horrific manner.”

The Senate observed a one-minute silence in honour of the slain soldiers and also urged the Federal Government to pay compensation to their families.

The Senate resolution followed a motion of urgent national importance moved by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Abdulaziz Yar’Adua and seconded by Senator Edeh Dafinone.

The Senate further resolved to urge the “Federal Government to ensure that those responsible for the murder of the soldiers are identified, tried and made to face the full wrath of the law.”

It called for the recruitment and training of more policemen to take charge of their duties of maintaining internal security and allow the army to concentrate on its traditional role in the affairs of the country.

Incidentally, the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, who presided over Tuesday plenary, said he did not believe that the attackers were indigenes of the Niger Delta, saying they might be “mercenaries” or “not even Nigerians.”

Akpabio, who interjected as debate on the motion progressed, noted that even in a war situation, citizens would take precautionary measures to avoid killing soldiers.

“Supposing they are not from the Niger Delta or they are not Nigerians? I don’t even believe that the killers are from the Niger Delta. We are not in a war situation. To lose 16 soldiers in one fell swoop is really worrisome”, he added

Leading debate on the motion, Yar’Adua called for justice for the slain soldiers, saying the incident brought to the fore more the need to reduce the involvement of the military in managing internal conflicts.

He averred: “The army is being asked to participate in internal security management due to the fact that the police are overwhelmed. But our soldiers have now come under increasing attacks, resulting in colossal losses.”

On his part, Senator Osita Izunaso (Imo -West), sued for tolerance among Nigerians in their daily interactions, advising that “we must always ensure that in whatever we are doing, we must be tolerant of one another. The killing of the soldiers is regrettable.”

The lawmaker,  representing Bayelsa West Senatorial District, Senator Seriake Dickson, equally condemned the killing of the soldiers, just as he drew attention to seeming reprisals in Egbomoto community, in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa, “where people are being killed. “

Making his contribution, former president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan (Yobe-North), noted that the killing of the soldiers was “a big loss to Nigeria.”

 

We never bargained for what happened —Oborevwori

In the same vein, the governor of Delta State, Sheriff Oborevwori, on Tuesday said his administration did not bargain for what happened in Okuoma community in the state, assuring that there will be no more attacks in the area while the perpetrators of the killing of military personnel will be brought to justice.

He made the declaration on Tuesday while speaking to correspondents after a closed door meeting with President Bola Tinubu at the Presidential Villa.

He had briefed the president on the recent incident that led to the killing of military personnel in the state.

Oborevwori, who fielded questions from correspondents after the closed door meeting with the president, however, assured that the situation is now under control.

He stated: “You know the happenings in Delta State since 14th of this month and it is necessary for me to brief the Commander-in-Chief and that’s what I’ve come to do, the full details of what happened.

“People may not have knowledge of what we’re doing since I came on board, since last year we’ve been enjoying peace in Delta State and we commend all the security agencies, but an unfortunate thing happened last week that people who don’t have the knowledge have started talking

“The two communities in question have been having issue for years and last month, on the 7th of February, they were invited by the state government; the members representing those two local governments, the council chairmen and the leaders of those communities, all agreed to work together and signed peace accord.

“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.”

Pressed on the issue of the number of casualties and reprisal attacks on the community, Oborevwori declined comments, saying that it is a security issue and there are certain things he cannot say in the public.

 

Reps mandate Armed Forces to probe incident

Similarly, the House of Representatives on Tuesday, mandated authorities of the Armed Forces of Nigeria to conduct investigation into the circumstances that led to gruesome killing of the military personnel.

The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of a motion on matter of urgent national importance on the need to investigate and apprehend perpetrators of the act.  The resolution was sponsored by the chairman, House Committee on Defence, Honourable  Babajimi Benson.

In his lead debate, Benson noted, what he termed the gruesome murder of the military personnel in Delta State..

He stated: “The House further notes that the fallen soldiers were on a peaceful and mediatory mission to quell communal clash between Okuama and Okoloba Communities in Ughelli South and Bomadi LGAs of Delta State respectively when the horrific incident occurred.

“The House is aware that these military personnel were only responding to a distress call in their service to their fatherland when they were ambushed and killed on Thursday.

“The House is distressed that the perpetrators of this heinous act did not only stop at killing these military personnel but also went ahead to sacrilegiously debase their remains by ripping out their hearts and other body parts.

After observing a minute silence for the deceased military personnel, the House mandated the “Armed Forces of Nigeria to conduct a thorough and wholesome investigation into the circumstances that led to this heartless, gruesome and despicable act and work with the relevant authorities to bring all perpetrators and their collaborators to book.”

Hence, the House mandated its Committee on Defence to interface with the Armed Forces of Nigeria to ensure compliance and report to the House within four weeks.

 

It’s a violation of rights to life, says NHRC

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has condemned the Thursday’s killing of 16 soldiers and some civilians in Delta state, saying it amounted to violation of rights to life.

A statement signed personally by the Executive Secretary of the NHRC, Chief Tony Ojukwu (SAN), which was made available to journalists on Tuesday said, the commission rejects the practice whereby aggrieved individuals and groups take laws into their hands attacking and killing law enforcement agents.

“Such behaviours occasion human rights violations and distrust. To this extent, it specifically amounts to violations of the right to life and dignity of human person as guaranteed under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 4 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), and other international instruments to which Nigeria is a signatory”.

According to the NHRC boss, everyone is entitled to life and security of their person under section 33 of the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria (as amended) and added that the killings of security agents which had been going on in several parts of the country are not acceptable.

Citizens, he said, must engage and collaborate with the law enforcement agents, by providing them with the necessary information that will assist them in fishing out those responsible and ensure that they are prosecuted and punished in accordance with the law.

Ojukwu also urged authorities to put necessary mechanisms in place to arrest those involved in the killings, bring all perpetrators to  justice and prevent further occurrence in the future.

“We are keenly monitoring the situation and official investigation in this case to ensure that those who are behind this inhumane and wicked act are quickly arrested, prosecuted and punished in accordance with the relevant international, regional and municipal laws”, he said.

The Commission urged everyone, including the affected community and the Nigerian Armed Forces to sheathe their sword and refrain from any form of reprisals while awaiting for the outcome of the investigation.

Ojukwu expressed the condolences of the Commission to the Chief of Defence Staff, the Chief of Army Staff, the Nigerian military, and the families of the slain soldiers and urged everyone to remain calm and trust that justice will be served accordingly.

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