How Delta Community Petitioned Governor Oborevwori and Police Commissioner in January to Act on Terror Group Responsible for Killing of 14 Soldiers | #NwokeukwuMascot


...Killing Of 14 Soldiers: How Delta Community Petitioned Governor Oborevwori, Police Commissioner In January To Act On Terror Group | #NwokeukwuMascot 

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 The people of Okuama Community in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State petitioned the state governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, and the Delta State Commissioner of Police in January and February, alleging how Patrick Akpobenekeme, former Director of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA), formed an alleged terror group from neighbouring Okoloba Community in the Bomadi Local Government Area.

The people of Okuama community who had called on the governor and the police in the letter for an urgent intervention, accused Akpobenekeme and his alleged terror group of murder, kidnapping, assault, torture and promoting communal crisis between Okuama and Okoloba communities.

They made the allegations in a letter dated February 2, 2024, signed by the President General of Okuama-Ewu Community, Mr. James Oghoroko and the Secretary General of the community, Mr. Bernard Esegba, and addressed to the Governor and another letter dated January 29, 2024 and addressed to the commissioner of police through I. Ejedegba & Co. law firm.


Both letters were duly received by the police and the office of the governor.


The Okuama community leaders in the letter accused the Akpobenekeme and his group from Okoloba community of carrying out unwanted attack on Okuama community leading to the death of Messrs Igbo Meshack, Power Awusa and Okemute Agbabulaka and so many others who sustained grievous wounds during the said attack.


They also accused Akpobenekeme of kidnapping, assaulting and torturing one Naira Oseveta, Helen Nana, Helen Godwin, Baby Uniodekporo, Victor Aphiayerhe, Baby Edafe and Kingsley Gentle.


They asked the state government and the police to intervene and demanded justice to forestall total breakdown of law and order in the area.


According to the people of Okuama community in the letters, they have been living in peace and have been enjoying relative tranquility with their neighbours including Okoloba Community until sometime ago when Akpobenekeme was appointed by the former President Goodluck Jonathan as the NIMASA director. 


They said that Akpobenekeme, who is a native of the neighbouring Okoloba Community, after he made some money, started to dispute the ownership of their (Okuama) ancient traditional properties and heritage. 


The letter sent to the police through I. Ejedegba & Co. law firm, which has the similar content with the version sent to the Governor, stated that “Patrick Akpobenekeme in order to successfully lay false claims to our clients' traditional and ancestral assets, formed a violent group of local militants in Okoloba Community who violently chase, dehumanize and terrorize our clients from lands and rivers belonging to our clients and claiming they belong to Okoloba Community.


“The inordinate desire to take over our clients assets by disputing the ownership got to the climax when Patrick Akpobenekeme forcefully ordered our clients not to enter their ancestral Erhurhore farmland and threatened to kill our clients found in the land, claiming it belong to Okoloba Community. 


“Again the situation got to the point that Patrick Akpobenekeme extended his false claim to the ancient ancestral river popularly known as Urhie Ewu (Ewu River) and establish a fetish and diabolical shrine in our clients' river where he offers animal blood sacrifices from time to time. 


“The animal sacrifices of cows, rams, pigs, cocks, goats etc. in the Urhie Ewu river by Patrick Akpobenekeme is contaminating the river and greatly, disturbing and obstructing the fishing activities of our clients who are predominantly farmers and fishermen/women. 


“Hence, our clients told Patrick Akpobenekeme to desist from further making animal sacrifices in the Urhie Ewu river, because as a matter of fact the Urhie Ewu is exclusively owned by our clients. 


“He then threatened to visit his anger on our clients, telling them that they have bitten more than they can chew. He threatened to invade our clients' community and stopped their movement in the river henceforth. Some of his boys with him when he was threatening to kill our clients even attacked our clients. 


“After the encounter, our client being peace loving people did not suspect or envisage any attack from Patrick Akpobenekeme and his militants because they thought it was an empty threat.


“Our client informed us that they were going about their normal daily businesses on the 27th day of January, 2024 when Patrick Akpobenekeme mobilized his militant group and gun-boats and surrounded our clients' community chanting war songs and shooting sporadically into the community with the intent to kil our clients. 


“Our clients ran helter scatter and took to safety. While the attack was ongoing in our clients' community by Patrick Akpobenekeme and his criminal militia, some of our clients went for trading at the popular Okwagbe Market, while there were returning from the market, they boarded Gbaregolor boat, at a point in the river, the boat was accosted by the Patrick Akpobenekeme militants who ordered the boat to dock, abducted the persons whom they identified as being indigenes of our clients' community, allowed the others to continue their journey and took our clients to a marine school at Okoloba Community, where they were thoroughly assaulted, mercilessly beaten and dehumanized, most of them being woman and sustaining different degrees of injuries were later taken in one of the gun- boats and driven back to Okwagbe were good Samaritans called for help. 


“The abducted persons are (1) Naira Osereta, (2) Helen Nana, (3) Helen Godwin (4) Baby Ubiodekporo (5) Victor Aphiayerhe, (6) Baby Edafe and (7) Kingsley Gentle, were al rushed to the Otu-Jeremi General Hospital for medical help after reporting at the Otu-Jeremi Divisional Police Headquarters. 


“On same 27th day of January, 2024 some indigenes of our clients' community who were returning home were accosted by Patrick Akpobenekeme militant group on the river, our clients unsuspectingly identified themselves to the militants ni the gun-boat which drove round the river that day. 


“They ordered them to berth at gunpoint, took them into Okoloba community bush, tied their hands and legs and heartlessly killed Messrs. Igho Meshack, Power Awusa and OKiemute Agbakulaka. One of them who was able to escape with bullet wounds into the thick bush is the eye witness. 


“His name is Kennedy Israel, while he was in the bush, he saw Patrick Akpobenekeme and his bloodthirsty group burying the trio they killed. When he was escaping they shot severally at him but the bullet only hit his leg. It was when Kennedy Israel came out, he made these revelations. 


“While he was seeking treatment, Kennedy Israel was arrested by the boat owners who demanded an explanation on the whereabouts of the other occupants of the boat. 


“He was detained at the Area Command, Warri where Police from the Bomadi Divisional Police Headquarter arrested him on false complaint and frivolous allegations of Patrick Akpobenekeme who is desperate to suppress the vital evidence of murder and other heinous crimes against him.


“The whereabouts of many indigenes of our clients' community is unknown since the incident. There is strong suspicion that Patrick Akpobenekeme and his deadly gang would have murdered many. 


“Patrick Akpobenekeme has made himself a terror to innocent Okuama people most of whom are aged men, women and children. Our clients are in deep sorrow as a result of the invasion on them. 


“Our clients have become apprehensive, devastated and defeated as they have been violently attacked, killed, chased from their homes and community. Our clients are now scattered all over the riverine communities as displaced people seeking refuge and living in fear. 


“They can no longer go about their daily activities and attend to their sources of livelihood, our clients have been thrown into sorrow and mourning of their dear ones whose lives have been callously and punitively cut short by Patrick Akpobenekeme and his criminal group.


“Flowing from the above, Patrick Akpobenekeme and his criminal syndicate have perpetuated and masterminded the murder of Messrs. Igho Meshack, Power Awusa and Okiemute Agbakulaka, the attempted murder of Kennedy Israel, the assault, kidnap and dehumanization of Naira Osereta, Helen Nana, Helen Godwin, Baby Ubiodekporo, Victor Aphiayerhe, Baby Edafe, Kingsley Gentle and others and promoting native war, al these are grievous crimes as encapsulated in our criminal justice system. 


“We hereby call on you and urge you to use you good office to unravel all the perpetuator of these offences, so that our clients who have fled their homes for fear of attacks, invasion and fear of being killed can begin to see some ray of hope and justice.


“Consequent upon the foregoing, our clients demand for justice for the dead who were murdered, we demand for a thorough investigation into this heinous crimes and demand that Patrick Akpobenekeme and others who have perpetuated this great evil and criminality against harmless Okuoma people be brought to justice and made a face the full wrath of the law, so that justice will not only be done but be manifestly seen as being done.”


However, SaharaReporters’ efforts to confirm from the police how the police acted on the petition and why the communal crisis escalated, leading to the killing of 16 military personnel who were going for a peacekeeping mission in the warring communities, failed.


The Delta State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Bright Edafe, did not answer calls made to his phone number nor responded to a message sent to him till the time of filing this report.


Meanwhile, the escalation of the communal crisis between Okuama and Okoloba communities has led to the unfortunate killing of 16 military personnel and other civilians with many houses reportedly burnt down in alleged reprisal attack by the military.


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