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Soldiers’ Killing: Independent Probe May Indict VIPs, Says Ex-DSS Director 

Mike Ejiofor said for future operations, the military should involve the police and DSS operatives in such civilian assignments.


Ex-DSS Director, Mike Ejiofor, on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on March 21, 2024

 

A former Director of the Department of State Services (DSS), Mike Ejiofor, has called for an independent probe of the gruesome killing of 17 military personnel in Okuama community in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, saying that an objective inquiry will indict some Very Important Personalities.

Ejiofor, who was a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily programme on Thursday, wondered why a lieutenant colonel, two majors, one captain and 13 other military personnel would be deployed to settle a land dispute.

“The federal or state government should set up this or harmonise: the state government brings representatives, the federal government brings representatives to form a very high-powered, independent investigation that will come up with an objective report of what happened, because as it is now, people are scampering, some people that might be indicted in this investigation, because a lieutenant colonel, two majors cannot on their own just move out on a peace-keeping mission in a community. There is so much to this incident that must be found out,” he stated.

 

 

He said the Nigerian Army is an interested party in the matter and should not probe the grievous incident in the oil-rich South-South state on Thursday, March 14, 2024.

The former director of the secret police urged the Federal Government and the Delta State Government to set up a “high-powered, independent investigation” to unravel the circumstances behind the deployment of 17 military personnel including the Commanding Officer of the 181 Amphibious Battalion on a peace-keeping mission to warring Bomadi and Okuoma communities engaged in a land dispute.

“The military is a party interested; they cannot undertake such investigation. By now, the Federal Government or the state government must have set up an investigative panel to look into this matter because time is running. we need to get to the root of this matter to know what really happened,” he said.

The corpses of the military personnel were later recovered but some of them were decapitated and their stomachs’ ripped.

Ejiofor, who in clear terms condemned the killing of the soldiers and lamented that we have “lost our values as human beings, no respected for lives anymore
a very tragic inciendet for me, I can’t comprehend it anymore”.

“The gruesome murder of those military personnel, looking at their mutilated bodies, we’ve lost our values as a people. I still can’t come to terms with that but the military too out of emotions has taken a pound of flesh on them by razing down the community, even though they said they didn’t,” he said.

 

‘Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right

The security expert said though the military denied burning down the community but reprisals are usual for the military.

Ejiofor said, “Despite the denial by the military, it’s usual with them for such reprisal attack. They will continue to say they did not but then, who razed the community? Nobody knows the number of casualties but we can see from videos, we can see the place burning up to the extent that the governor had no access to the place, nobody had access to the community. That’s going too far.

“We sympathised with the military; Nigerians are mourning that our military men were killed but two wrongs don’t make a right.

“It follows the trend that each time a military (man) is killed, go for reprisal. As much as we discourage people from taking laws into their hands, because they are our symbols of authority, the military should not also go beyond the mandate of burning the place.”

“Investigation will prove who razed the community. Let us look at an independent body of inquiry.”

‘Military Should Have Involved Police, DSS’

The ex-DSS director said for future operations, the military should involve the police and DSS operatives in such civilian assignments.

He said, “If there is a peace keeping, two parties must be involved; people from the two communities must be involved, and a neutral ground will be taken, possibly the local government headquarters, if you are talking of peace initiative.

“And then, why must the military? In fact, the military expose itself to harm’s way. In fact, the military expose itself to harm’s way. If the police, the SSS, and the military were involved in this (operation), I don’t think we would have seen this kind of incident. We are not justifying the killing but it’s a lesson for all of us, for the military.

“You don’t blame the military too much because they have been so much involved in military matters that the military will now go for peace initiatives withough civil authorities. I still don’t get it.”