…Traditional Ruler, Youth Cry Out

Barely a week after Communities in Andoni Local Government Area were invaded allegedly by soldiers and local vigilante group in the area, the Okoma I community in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State has allegedly been invaded by soldiers and the local vigilantes.

The traditional ruler of Okoma I Community in Ahoada East Local Government Area, Eze Felix Obuge accused the Military of invading his community and burning down houses.

Eze Obuge in a telephone interview granted a radio station in Port Harcourt alleged that the soldiers invaded the community in pursuit of illegal oil bunkerers operating in the area adding that when they could not apprehend the criminals, they resorted to setting homes ablaze.

He also alleged that the illegal oil operators had over the years carried out their nefarious activities in area but that several reports made to security agencies on the matters have been treated with lavity.

Eze Obuge explained that those who operate the illegal oil bunkering in the area were not only the indigenes of the community but included other people from other parts of the country.

The monarch who accused the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) of being the mastermind of the recent invasion and destruction carried out by the soldiers in collaboration with OSPAC in the community, added that the SPDC had ignored several report made to it by the community over the activities of illegal oil bunkerers on its pipeline that passed through the community.

The king who recounted the ordeal of his people said the SPDC pipeline passed through the community and lamented that the community had not benefited from the company but had been subjected to intimidation by security agents over the crimes of individuals.

“Soldiers invaded our community in September 5th and again on September 24 and 25 while we were having a burial in the community,” the entire community is in ruins, and deserted,” The monarch stated.

The traditional ruler stated that his life has been under threat from the boys involved in the illegal refineries, as according to him, they believed that he invited the soldiers. He disclosed that his house was among those burnt down by the soldiers.

He appealed to Governor, Nyesom Wike to come to the aid of the community and stop the harassment of the people by the soldiers and OSPAC.

King Obuge also called the attention of the chairman of Ahoada East Local Council Hon. Ben Eke on the situation in the area, adding that several written appeals to the Governor and the Council Chairman had not been responded to.

He also demanded that SPDC should be made to rebuild the destroyed houses in the community.

Attempts to reach the Police Public Relation Officer (PPRO) in Rivers State, SP Nnamdi Omoni and his counterpart in the 6th Division, Nigeria Army, Bori Camp were not successful. 

Meanwhile, the President of Obolo Youth Coalition in Andoni Local Government Area, Hon. Ijonama Mkpon Amon condemned the invasion of several villages and Communities in the local government by armed security agents under the guise of chasing criminals operating in the area.

Addressing the media in his office in Port Harcourt on the security situation in the area, Hon. Amon stated that several communities in Andoni were under siege by Police and military personal aided by local vigilante groups operating in the area.

Amon said the invasion of the communities by the security agents left many people with gun shots wounds and machete cuts.

The youth President expressed dismay at the brazen action of the police and military personnel carrying out the operations in the area, stressing that innocent people in the area were hounded and arrested.

He frowned at the strategy adopted in the operation against criminals elements in the area, adding that the action has inflicted severe trauma on residents of the communities.

Hon. Ijonama explained that several homes have been ransacked as residents fled their homes out of fear.

The youth president while acknowledging that one of the major suspected criminal gang leaders hail from a community called Ajakaja in the local government area, said the action by the security agents virtually turned the area into a war front.”

Andoni is not at war with the Nigerian Police or the Army. Andoni Communities should not become a target of destruction by overzealous security agents because of the criminal activities of few individuals.” he stated.

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