As tension brews over killing of soldiers
By John Eche
Worried over the possibility of military reprisals over the recent killing of three soldiers of the Nigerian Army, the people of Nembe in Bayelsa State, Nigeria have sent an SOS to the authorities to not take out their anger over the actions of unidentified gunmen on the entire community.
It will be recalled that the Nigerian military, under President Olusegun Obasanjo, had responded to the killing of several Nigerian security operatives by brutally sacking the Odi community, an action that however attracted widespread umbrage the world over.
The current attack by the gunmen who are allegedly believed to be Niger Delta militants was carried out on a military post in the area on August 8 with three soldiers losing their lives in the incident.
Disassiociating itself from the attack and clearly attempting to hold out an olive branch, the Nembe Community at the weekend hurriedly convened a town hall meeting presided over by King Edmund Daukoru, the Mingi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom; himself a former Minister of Petroleum in Nigeria.
In a statement after the summit, the entire community including the chiefs and elders of the ancient coastal city completely decried the attack launched by unidentified gunmen.
The resolutions from the meeting were jointly signed by Chief S. Awaki Gamdede, Alternate Chairman, Nembe Chiefs Council and Chief Walter Feghabo Amain, Mingi XII Special Envoy off the community and himself also a former military administrator in the country.
“The kingdom also condemned the heinous act which is capable of portraying the peace loving people of Nembe in bad light and thus to potentially misrepresent the very cordial welcome that the JTF and other law enforcement agencies have enjoyed in Nembe over the years,” the statement outlined.
They thanked Gov. Seriake Dickson, the Deputy Governor, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha Jonah (rtd) and senior officers of the military who had promptly visited Nembe shortly after what they described as the “barbaric and inhuman” attack.
According to them, the visit had helped to reassure the frightened people of the community of their safety, even as the chiefs and elders used the opportunity to condole the families of the three deceased soldiers.
They equally warned so-called militant groups to desist from repeatedly provoking the peace loving Nembe speaking people by committing crimes in their territory declaring that the Nembe kingdom totally abhors any and all acts of criminality.
It will be recalled that a similar attack at the military post located at the Nembe Jetty in November 2015 had also left four soldiers on guard duties dead.
Apparently seeing the current assault as one too many, the Commander of the joint military force in the Niger Delta had on August 8, after the attack vowed to apprehend the perpetrators of the act and ensure that they are made to face the law.
The latest wave of agitation and violence in the region has been spearheaded by the shadowy Niger Delta Avengers, NDA and a motley of other groupings, some of which have continued to insist that they are not linked to the better known Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, one of whose leaders, Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo has reportedly been on the run for several weeks now after having been declared wanted by the authorities.