• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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BusinessDay

Senate probes killing of military  personnel in Delta State

Senate steps down consideration of NACA 2023 budget

The Senate has mandated its committees on Army, Navy and Airforce, to work with the military for a thorough investigation into the killings of some officers and men of Nigerian Army Data State.

Last Thursday, 17 military personnel — comprising a lieutenant ​colonel, two majors, one captain, and 12 soldiers were killed while on a peacekeeping mission in Okuama, Bomadi Local Government Atea of the state.

Military authorities announced the killing of the soldiers on Saturday. On Sunday morning, many houses in the Okuama community were razed, but the military has denied allegations that soldiers carried out the retaliatory attacks.

In honouring the memories of the military personnel, the Senate held a minute silence for them but rejected a motion to do so for civilian casualties.

The Senate’s resolutions followed separate motions sponsored by Abdulaziz Yar’Adua, the Senator representing Katsina Central and Ede Dafinone, the Senator representing Delta Central on the the Killing of Nigerian Military Personnel in Delta State and the necessity for urgent intervention.

Yar’Adua in his motion described the act as despicable, barbaric and unacceptable.

“The Officers comprising of a Lt – Colonel, two Majors, and a Captain along with 12 Soldiers, were not only killed by the local militias but had their bodies mutilated. This heinous act of violence perpetrated by the attackers on our troops is a direct assault on the security and stability of the Niger Delta region. The Senate should condemn in its entirety, the dastardly act and adopt prayers proposed as resolutions,” he said.

But Senator Dafinone in his presentation, said since the motion centred on the same issue, he would only propose an additional prayer of a minute silence for innocent civilians killed.

His proposal was however rejected by Godswill Akpabio,  the Senate President, who said holding a minute silence for civilian casualties or victims of collateral damages, would come after a thorough investigation had been carried on what led to what on the tragic and very embarrassing incident.

“Senators Dafinone and Ned Nwoko’s prayer for a minute silence for innocent civilian casualties would be taken after the investigation of the dastardly act.

“What has happened is condemnable and stand condemned. The Senate will hold a minute silence for the 16 military personnel gruesomely murdered and condole with President Bola Tinubu, the Military and family of the deceased for now.

“After investigation, civilians involved in the collateral damage will be honoured by minute silence or whatever action that may be necessary. Those involved in the dastardly act, may not even be Niger Deltans, they may be mercenaries even from outside the country “, he said.

Speaking further Akpabio said he believes that the Killers are not Nigerians and may be mercenaries because people in Niger Delta “respect men and women in uniform”.

“I do not believe that these people are from Niger Delta, those who do the killings because we respect men and women in uniform. We should carry out a thorough investigation to know whether these people are mercenaries from outside Niger Delta who came to commit this crime because I don’t think these people are Niger Deltas.

“We are not at war to lose such several personnel.  No community will go to the extent of doing this kind of thing. I don’t think they are from Niger Delta So, I think the first point is that we should first establish the culprits who committed this crime, we must take this seriously.  Supposing they are not from Niger Delta, supposing they are not even Nigerians. People should bear the consequences of their characters”, he said.

The Senate in other resolutions, urged the Federal Government to apprehend the killers and bring them to justice.

The upper chamber also urged the Federal Government to hasten the recruitment and training of more Police personnel towards relieving the Army from internal security matters.