- More residents flee
- State govt sends emissaries to military authorities
Following Monday’s incident that saw three soldiers shot dead by suspected militants in Nembe, Bayelsa State, military personnel stormed the coastal town practically taking over the place.
The development caused more residents to flee further into the creeks, leaving the area almost deserted.
However, the state government has sent emissaries to military authorities to apologise for Monday’s killings as well as pacify the personnel.
According reports, troops in combat gears moved into Nembe town checkpoint post where the soldiers were killed by militants who reportedly disguised as priests and carted away military ammunition after the attack.
The state government was quick to commiserate with the Nigerian military over the brutal killing by the armed bandits at Nembe City in Nembe Local Government Area of the state.
Addressing the people of Nembe at the King Koko Square, Nembe, Governor Henry Seriake Dickson noted that the killing of the innocent soldiers was senseless, barbaric and not in the best interest of the government and people of the state, especially the peace loving people of Nembe.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, retired Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah, described the incident as most painful and unfortunate, pointing out that a similar one occurred in July last year, where soldiers were attacked at the same security check-point in Nembe, resulting in deaths.
He noted that he took it upon himself to visit the scene of the incident to console and engage the military authorities with a view to dousing the palpable tension in the community occasioned by the sad incident.
While urging members of the community who have fled to return home, he called on youths and other stakeholders to collaborate with the military authorities in order to bring the perpetrators of the heinous crime to book, also pleading with the clergy to continue to pray for lasting peace in the community.
Also speaking, the commander of Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral J. O. Okojie assured the people of Nembe that the perpetrators of the dastardly act would be made to account for their mindless actions, adding that his men were already on their trail.
He, however, urged members of the community to volunteer useful information to the military authorities, stressing that innocent citizens would not be molested.
Earlier in their separate speeches, Hon. Ebi Ben-Ololo, member representing Nembe constituency 1 in the state House of Assembly; Chief Bright Erewari-Iweka, vice chairman of Nembe Council of Chiefs, and Chief Walter Feghabo-Amain all condemned the killing of the soldiers and also expressed their condolences to the military authorities.
They also recalled that since the coming of the military joint task force to Nembe, the community had enjoyed relative peace, stressing that members of the community would continue to co-operate with the military, with a view to ensuring that the perpetrators were apprehended and made to face the law.
Meanwhile, candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the last Bayelsa State governorship election, Chief Timipre Sylva has condemned Monday’s killing of three soldiers in Nembe by suspected militants.
Sylva, who spoke in a statement by his media adviser, Mr. DoifieBuokoribo, said those behind the act were enemies of the people.
The statement also advised residents of Nembe and its environs to be vigilant and work closely with security agencies to isolate and frustrate the efforts of persons who want to make the area an oasis of evil and backwardness.
The statement read: “The killing of the soldiers is a grievous crime that cannot be excused on any ground. It is a legal and cultural abomination, which goes against everything the people of Nembe and neighbouring communities believe in. Those who committed this sacrilege are only out to set up our communities for destruction. They should be fished out and made to face the law.
“We must work with the security agencies to isolate and frustrate the machinations of those who would want to make our communities a fertile ground for violence and underdevelopment.
“As I have always said, the solution to the problems in the Niger Delta does not lie in violence; it lies in constructive engagement and dialogue. We have come a long way on the path of peaceful solution to our problems, and President MuhammaduBuhari has shown unprecedented commitment to the peaceful resolution of all problems in the Niger Delta and development of the region. We cannot at this point begin to roll back the frontiers of peace and development. We cannot afford to return to violence as a means of agitation,” Sylva said.