Military Didn’t Invade Bayelsa Community – Ogbotobo | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Military Didn’t Invade Bayelsa Community – Ogbotobo

Posted: Nov 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Igoniko Oduma

Yenagoa – Wilfred Ogbotobo, a prominent chief of Nembe Kingdom, has debunked claims by the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) in Bayelsa State that the military invaded a community in Nembe Local Government Area of the state.

Ogbotobo who spoke at the weekend in Yenagoa urged the Federal Government, National Assembly and the Defence Headquarters to discountenance a petition by Nengi James, the chairman of CLO, and Kenneth Okorodas, the acting research secretary, alleging that troops of Operation Delta Safe (ODS) over-ran Sand-Sand community in the kingdom.

The CLO had raised the alarm that ODS operatives in search of members of the Niger Delta Avengers invaded the community, attacking the residents and burning down houses, churches and schools.

But Ogbotobo described the allegations of the human rights group as a tissue of lie, stressing that it was unfair and signposted ignorance and ingratitude.

He said, “The allegations are speculative. The public should ignore them as malicious propaganda and cheap blackmail intended to discredit the genuine intentions of the Federal Government in spite of the ultimate sacrifices being made by Nigerian soldiers to maintain law and order in the Nembe Local Government Area.

“The ease with which Ijaw political players, civil and human rights activists are wont to stoke local sentiments to stifle truth and attain undue relevance and publicity, is sickening.

“It is regrettable and saddening that the state Chairman of the Civil Liberties Organisation, Chief Nengi James Eriworio, a chief of the Nembe Kingdom, should be the one credited with peddling these petty, nonsensical falsehoods against the very Army that has made his hometown, Nembe City, safe and secured for him to move around as a chief. This is nothing but malicious ingratitude”.

He contended that James and his Bayelsa CLO were aware that soldiers deployed in Nembe area had always been subjected to extreme provocations.

He stated that in spite of such provocations, the soldiers had always showed restraint, maturity and discipline, in strict compliance with rules of engagement while carrying out their assignments in “extremely vexatious and distressing environment in Nembe territory.”

Ogbotobo added, “The public could recall that on two different occasions, in the span of one year alone, the Nigerian Army suffered gruesome loss of about 10 troops who were killed in cold-blood, unprovoked attacks on the same security post, at Tombi Jetty in Nembe City.

“The circumstances solicited general outcry and condemnations even in the community and, could have been exploited as golden opportunity for a military invasion and destruction of Nembe City or other areas of its territory.

“Rather, the Military High Command visited Nembe City to demonstrate understanding; dispelled the fears of the community; chased and apprehended the criminals, in a commendable, most professional conduct.

“No community was invaded or sacked. The soldiers did not go after and harass innocent, peaceful and unharmed persons in any community. Curiously, what was the reaction of the Civil Liberties Organisation in Bayelsa State and its state chairman then?

“If those dastardly acts were to be committed by troops against the Nembe people, the likes of Chief Nengi James Eriworio and his Bayelsa Civil Liberties Organisation would have jumped on the roof tops of the world media to crow and draw attention.”