Military authorities in Rivers State have given a one-week ultimatum to eight communities in Emohua Local Government Area of the state to fish out and surrender the gunmen, who allegedly ambushed and shot dead a soldier and police officer, while they were on duty along the Emohua-Kalabari Road in the area.
Niger Delta Voice gathered that the incident occurred last week, and both the army and police in the state were furious. A trustworthy source hinted that the new Brigade Commander in charge of Rumuokoro Army Barracks in Port Harcourt stormed Emohua with three vehicles, fully loaded with fierce-looking military men and drove straight to the palace of the paramount ruler of Emohua Kingdom, HRM, Eze V.C. Okor.
The source said: “During the visit, the brigade commander gave the eight communities of Emohua one-week ultimatum to produce the killers of the officers, otherwise the communities will face the wrath of the command.”
At the time of this report, a number of residents had fled the kingdom. The trepidation is what will happen to them if they remain in the area after the one-week ultimatum expired and the communities were unable to surrender anybody to the security agencies as the killers, having declined knowledge of the gunmen. The Emohua monarch distan-ced the communities from the killers, but condemned the act.
When Niger Delta Voice visited the community weekend, there was uneasy calm. But we saw villagers going about their normal businesses and there were no security personnel intimidating anybody.
What Brigade Commander told me - Monarch
The royal father said that the brigade commander in charge of Rumuokoro Army Barracks in Port Harcourt visited his palace on Monday and told him that the army discovered corpses of two security personnel, along Emohua-Kalabari Road.The monarch called on the government to promptly intervene in the matter and ensure that justice was no breakdown of law and order.
A villager said: “The brigade commander told our royal father that Emohua community should produce the killers of the security agents. “Okor told him that road is being used by four local governments in the state and that soldiers should carefully investigate to find out the culprits. “He also told them that in their investigation, they should secure the lives and properties of Emohua people.”
The monarch told Niger Delta Voice: “When the commander left, I called for a meeting. The visit was shocking to me. So I passed on the message that the commander brought. “In the meeting, we appointed three people to go to the Rumuokoro Barracks to see and pacify the commander not to wage war against us in their investigation.
“We have not had problems with any security operative and we do not groom gunmen here. So there is no way the community should be robed into such crime.”
Our worry— Nyewe Eli Emohua
First son of the monarch, who is the Nyewe Eli Emohua, Prince Chigozie Okor, confirmed that the people were alarmed at the approach of the military to the matter, saying it was wrong for the army to have concluded that the killers of the security personnel were from Emohua simply because the unpleasant incident happened in the area.
He said: “We do not understand the reason why the soldiers will walked straight into our community to demand that we provide the gunmen who killed two of their men.
“The road where the officers were killed is a major route to three other local government areas in the state, namely Degema, Asari-Toru and Akuku-Toru, why should they point finger at Emohua? “They should carry out investigation on the killing and bring the perpetrators to justice; they should not involve civilians, who do not have what it takes to carry out such task.”
We’re in contact with parties—DPO
Divisional Police Officer, DPO, in charge of Rumuji Police Divisional Headquarters, who spoke toNiger Delta Voice on phone, said: “The issue was not officially reported to us. “I have visited Emohua community. We discussed and they have appointed people to see the commander. We are in touch with the two parties to ensure peace.”