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Ogoni killings: Wike visits red zones, declares perpetrators culpable

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Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that all those involved in the killing of  innocent Ogoni people and residents of Ogoniland will be brought to justice , saying  that nobody  will be allowed  to  play  politics with the lives of  Rivers People. 

Picture: Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike on Thursday  addressing Ogoni people at Bori  after his fact finding  visits to Yeghe and Bori following  the  ill-fated military  operation  in the area.

The  governor  declared  that  the  military  must subject itself  to  civil authority, pointing  out  that  as Chief Security Officer of Rivers State,  he was not informed  of  the operation  that led to loss of  innocent  lives of  Ogoni  people  and residents  of  the  area. 

He accused some politicians of deliberately instigating crisis in the state to create room for the evil declaration  of  state of  emergency  plotted by enemies  of Rivers People. 

Governor Wike spoke on Thursday when led by the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Mr Musa Kimo and top police officers on a fact finding  mission to Yeghe community in Gokana Local Government Area, affected  communities  in Bori  and Mortuaries where those killed by soldiers  were deposited. 

He said: “The Rivers State Government will take up this unfortunate incident with the appropriate  authorities. The military must subject  itself  to  civil authority. I am the chief security officer of  this state. Before any deployment  of  soldiers,  I should  be  informed, but in this case I was not aware.

“I will always  support  the security  agencies  in the fight against  criminals and criminality,  but  I  will never support  the killing  of  innocent persons. That is why  I am here today for an on-the-spot assessment. 

“I have  seen for myself  the destruction  in Yeghe and the  killings that took place. I went to the  Mortuaries  to see the corpses and the relatives of  the  deceased confirmed  they were killed in the operation”.

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike receiving the photograph of the  slain son of a retired police officer, Baritole Zikpo in Yeghe, Gokana LGA during  his fact finding mission after an ill-fated military operation in the area

The governor  stated: “I have  told security  agencies to  be careful  so that they are not misled by politicians. As your governor, I have  never  used soldiers because  I don’t need them. 

“When I see people not in government  moving around with soldiers, I am surprised.  If you  are  popular  with your people,  you have no reason  to  move with  soldiers. “

While urging  the  Ogoni  people not to take the laws into their  hands, Governor  Wike  said: “All those who masterminded  these killings  will face justice. 

“They are busy causing  crisis  because   of  their evil plan to declare  a state of  emergency  in the state.  Since they failed in my case, they will fail in others because  God is greater than them”.

Governor Wike noted that he has always advised the military  to arrest criminals and hand them over to the police for prosecution  in line with  the  rules of engagement  and not to take actions that would harm innocent  citizens. 

He denied ever making inflammatory statements on the Ogoni  political  arena, saying that he only campaigned for his political  party.  According  to  him,  it is within his political  right to guide the people  on the electoral choice they have to make in the interest of the state.

Governor Wike said that the state government  will hold a  comprehensive  security  council  meeting  on Thursday  on the Ogoni Security Situation. 

A statement by Simeon Nwakaudu, Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor on Electronic Media noted that thousands  of  wailing  bereaved widows,  youths, children, widowers and traders at Yeghe and Bori  displayed photographs of loved ones killed  by soldiers.  They also  displayed placards condemning  the  military  operation that claimed the lives of their loved ones.

He urged those who fled their homes  to return  as his administration  has taken measures  to check a repeat of the ugly incident. 

Bari Zikpo,  a retired police officer, old the governor  that his first son was killed in the ill-fated operation by the military.  He said the operation  claimed many others in the  town.

In Bori, David Gbarazie informed the governor  that he lost his brother to the military  operation. 

Also in Bori, the Igbo community  also informed  the community  that the military  killed some traders in front of their shops. Spokesman  for the  Igbo traders in Bori,  Mr  Michael Akuchi said a trader Livinus Nwafor and his brother  Kelechi Nwafor  were killed by soldiers. 

Simeon Nwakaudu

Special Assistant to the Rivers State Governor, Electronic Media

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