Group demands justice for military invasion of Rivers community

THE PUNCH Newspaper- Kindly Share This Story Sampson Itode, Port Harcourt

Rivers Civil Society Organisation and Ododa community in the Ahoada West Local Area of Rivers State on Wednesday demanded justice over the alleged military invasion and the destruction of property belonging to the community.

Soldiers allegedly destroyed houses and other property worth millions of naira following suspicion that the community was abetting crime by accommodating persons involved in artisanal refining of petroleum products.

The chairman of the group, Enefaa Georgewill, described the development as “atrocious”.

He said, “We have noticed that in the last one year at least the military has adopted a policy of attacking and burning communities whenever there is a suspected case of artisanal refining in proximity to those communities.

“In 2019 alone, there were at least three of such incidents in Niger Delta. We took particular note of Kalaekulema (Ke) community in the Degema LGA (Rivers State) and Azagbene in Ekeremo LGA of Bayelsa State.”

Georgewill further said 23 houses were burnt following the military attack and vowed to attain justice through legal means.

He said, “On May 23, 2019, the military invaded Ododa community with gunboats and helicopters, randomly bombing the community. About 23 houses were set ablaze and destroyed with all property worth millions of naira.

“People were also killed. We, the people of RIVCSO, sent two teams to have a firsthand assessment of the level of damage done in the community, capturing audio and pictorial evidence of the actions of the military.

“We shall be writing the army headquarters and detailing this atrocious event with videos and pictorial evidence.”

Okenya Onem, Chairman, Engenni Development Support Forum, said the community deserved compensation for the losses.

Spokesman for the Nigerian Army, 6 Division, Charles Ekeocha, said he was not aware of the allegations.


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