“Do not punish the entire community for the sins of few” – Senator to military over killing of soldiers

Sharon EboesomiMarch 19, 20246 min

The Senate observed a minute of silence in honour of those military personnel who were murdered horrifically in Okuama Community of Delta State.

Insecurity: Senate condemns gruesome murder of 15 Nigerian Army Personnel

Senator Ede Dafinone (APC, Delta Central) has requested the Senate to show some concern in handling the situation of the gruesome murder of the 17 Nigerian Army personnel in Okuama Community, Delta State, as he called for compensation to the families of the deceased soldiers whilst investigations are ongoing.

Dafinone made this call while speaking on a motion of urgent national importance on the “Killing of Nigerian Army Personnel in Okuama Community, Delta State and the Necessity for an Urgent investigation,” sponsored by himself and Senator Abdulaziz Musa Yaradua (APC, Katsina Central).

Dafinone noted that if the matter is not carefully handled, it will lead to a further breakdown of law and order saying: “We need to commensurate with the people of Okuama Community over the loss of lives of some of the innocent indigenes in the unfortunate incident. 

“I therefore plead with the President, the Defence headquarters and the Chief of Defence Staff to please tamper justice with mercy and not punish an entire community of Okuama for the sins of a few unscrupulous elements,” he added.

The Red Chamber also urged the Federal Government to ensure that those responsible for the heinous crime are identified, apprehended and brought to face the full consequences through a fair and transparent legal practice as it condemned in clear terms the gruesome murder of the 17 Nigerian Army Personnel in Okuama Community, Delta State.

OrderPaper recalls that there was a gruesome murder of 17 personnel of the Nigerian Army by armed men during a peace mission to Okuama Community in Ughelli South Local Government Area in Delta State on Thursday, 14th March 2024.

Presenting the motion, the chairman of the Senate Commitee on Nigerian Army, Senator Yar’Adua noted that the recent tragic incident that resulted in the loss of a Commanding Officer, 2 Majors, a Captain, and 12 soldiers, highlights a serious threat to the security and stability of the country. 

Troops of 181 Amphibious Battalion, while on a peace mission to Okuoma community in Bomadi LGA of Delta State were surrounded by some community youths and killed on Thursday, 14 March 2024. The unfortunate incident occurred when the troops responded to a distress call after the communal crises between the Okuama and Okoloba communities both in Delta State. 

“The tragic incident involving the attack on military personnel from the 181 Amphitropous Battalion during the peace mission to Okuama community in Delta State underscores the urgent need for justice and accountability without resorting to retribution.”

The lawmaker voiced concern over the understaffing of the Nigeria Police which has made Nigeria’s military take over internal policing duties such as organised crime, oil theft, communal crisis, kidnapping, banditry and other policing responsibilities. 

He also recalled when the Defence Headquarters (DHQ) previously reported in August 2023 the loss of 36 Military Personnel in Niger State, underscoring the persistent challenges faced by the Armed Forces in carrying out their duties. 

There is a critical requirement for a more streamlined and deliberate collaboration between the armed forces and law enforcement agencies on one side and the Nigerian populace and communities on the other. 

“This collaboration is essential to foster trust, enhance security measures, and promote a sense of shared responsibility in preventing such tragedies in the future,” he added.

READ ALSO: LIFE SERVICE: Killing of soldiers, student loan, insecurity expected to dominate NASS agenda 

Contributing to the motion, Senator Barau Jibrin (APC, Kano North) lamented over the inhumane act of the murderers of the military men. 

He said, “What happened is despicable. It is inhuman and it is something that cannot be accepted. We need to commensurate with the Nigerian Armed Forces and indeed the entire nation, to condole the immediate families of the fallen heroes and the Nigerian military for what happened. 

“These were men that were trained by the Nigerian government and huge resources spent on them to defend the territorial integrity of this country and keep us safe as a nation.

“Now, they were killed for no reason; not at a time of conflict, not at the war front, they were just murdered in the worst fashion that you can think about. 

“It should be condemned, what happened is inhuman and no stone should be left unturned in trying to find out the culprits who are responsible they must face justice and this should never happen again in this country.

“The military is doing their best trying to deal with kidnappers, bandits and a host of other challenges, trying to make us safe and now some people decided to go and murder these people and I believe that it is something that we should all condemn and proffer solutions too,” he added. 

Following the debate on this motion, the Senate observed a minute of silence in honour of those military personnel who were murdered horrifically in Okuama Community of Delta State.

It urged the Federal Government to hasten the recruitment and training of more police personnel to take up the job of policing responsibilities while the Nigerian Army play its primary role in the affairs of the country.

The Red Chamber further urged the Federal government to embark on an enlightenment campaign to sensitise the public on their civic responsibility as it affects their relationship with security agencies.

Sharon Eboesomi

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