BusinessDay

Wike hands over N200m to families of 10 slain soldiers, policemen in Rivers

...How the soldiers were overwhelmed, killed ...Killing started in Oyigbo before EndSARS protests

Wives and children of the six soldiers and four policemen that were killed in Rivers State by rioting hoodlums may find life manageable at last.

This is as Gov Nyesom Wike has redeemed his pledge of N20m to each family of the ten security personnel said to be killed by members of proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, (IPOB) in Oyigbo Local Government.

Gov Wike had on Wednesday, October 28, 2020, during a condolence visit to the Rivers State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, announced the donation of N20m to each family of the four policemen and six soldiers killed by irate mobs in Oyigbo.

The soldiers were said to have been drafted to Oyigbo in the wake of burning of police stations by the hoodlums. Trouble began in Oyigbo even before the second wave of EndSARS in Rivers State.

Some boys had killed a SARS operative posted to the boundary at Oyigbo who allegedly went in search of food around the area.

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The police did some arrests but the next day, the hoodlums were said to have marched to the police station and burnt it down when the police refused to release the arrested hoodlums.

Soldiers were later sent there, only to be overwhelmed by the suspected IPOB members who chased after them into one building. The landlord was said to have provided civilian clothes to the hiding soldiers but it was too late. They were killed.

Inime Aguma (l), Rivers State Commissioner for social Welfare, presents a cheque of N20 million on behalf of Rivers State Government to Dubon Baridilo, wife of late Inspector Sunday Dubon, at the office of the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State.

This led to a full military crackdown and 24-hour curfew that lasted for over a week. Families stayed indoors for a long time while mass arrests allegedly took place with some deaths so far recorded. The governor offered N20m to each family.

Now, the cheques were presented to the bereaved widows at the State Police Command and 6 Division, Nigerian Army, in Port Harcourt, respectively on Tuesday.

Gov Wike said the gesture was in fulfilment of his earlier promise to alleviate the plight of the widows and their children.

Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Tammy Wennike Danagogo, the governor described the murder of the security personnel by suspected IPOB members as unacceptable. He said it should be condemned by every right-thinking Nigerian.

Gov Wike told the Commissioner of Police that Government would not tolerate any terrorist group in the state or allow them to kill any innocent citizen, particularly policemen and soldiers who are defending and protecting citizens of the state.

“As a governor who matches his words with action, he has sent us to come and redeem that promise and to present the cheques of 20 Million each to the widows of the four police officers killed by IPOB.”

Gov Wike assured the State Commissioner of Police that the State would always stand with the police to fight crime.

In his response, the Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mukan, on behalf of the Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, thanked Gov Wike for fulfilling his promise.

He said the police have recovered some arms and arrested some persons who have made confessional statements. According to him, 22 persons have been charged to court.

Similarly, at the 6 Division, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, Gov Wike commiserated with the Nigerian Army, the widows and families of the 6 soldiers killed by IPOB.

He said Rivers State Government would ensure that the criminal elements that killed the soldiers and carted away their arms and ammunition were arrested and prosecuted.

“The governor made a pronouncement that he will give a token sum of 20m to each of the widows of the slain soldiers. So, we are here to fulfil that promise to give cheques to the widows so that they would survive in the absence of their breadwinners” he said

In his remarks, the General Officer Commanding 6 Division, Nigerian Army, a Major General, Orlu Irefin, expressed the gratitude on behalf of the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Yusuf Buratai, and the entire Nigerian Army to the Rivers State Governor for the kind gesture to the widows of the slain soldiers.

He dispelled fake news in social media on the activities of the Army in Oyigbo, emphasizing that action of the Army in the area was within the ambit of the law and rules of engagement

Danagogo was accompanied by the Commissioner for Information and Communications, Paulinus Nsirim and Commissioner for Social Welfare, Inime Aguma.

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