Stop the killings, Army tells Ogbe-ijoh, Aladja com­mu­ni­ties De­nies sol­diers’ in­volve­ment in cri­sis

Obaseki in­au­gu­rates eight-man gov­ern­ing coun­cil to re­po­si­tion AAU Bi­afra ag­i­ta­tors threaten sui­cide over leader’s where­abouts

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - NEWS - From Chido Okafor, Warri From Lawrence Njoku (Enugu)

THE Gen­eral Of­fi­cer Com­mand­ing (GOC) 6 Di­vi­sion of the Nige­ria Army, Maj. Gen. Jamil Sarhman, has urged war­ring Ogbe-ijoh and Aladja com­mu­ni­ties to stop the blood­shed over peren­nial land dis­pute.

He made the ap­peal at the week­end when he toured the ar­eas lo­cated in War­riSouth West and Udu lo­cal coun­cils in Delta State. Sarhman dis­closed that the rea­son fro the visit was to so­licit peace in the area and in­form the peo­ple about the de­ploy­ment of troops of 'Op­er­a­tion Crocodile Smile 3.'

The GOC urged them to end the dis­pute and work for peace so that the place could be de­vel­oped.

He stressed that the method of the Nige­rian Army is to keep the peace by fish­ing out crim­i­nal el­e­ments that work against peace in the com­mu­ni­ties.

He said: “The whole pur­pose of the op­er­a­tion is to keep the peace and en­gen­der de­vel­op­ment. Sol­diers will be on land and in the creeks to en­sure that the lives and prop­er­ties of Nige­ri­ans are safe, and also deal with crim­i­nals in line with the ex­tant laws of the con­sti­tu­tion.

“We can only achieve the aim of the op­er­a­tion with the sup­port of the leaders of the king­doms, youths, women and the co­op­er­a­tion of the gen­eral com­mu­nity.”

At the palace of Ovie of Udu King­dom, His Majesty, Bethel Delekpe in Aladja, the GOC de­nied that sol­diers killed some per­sons dur­ing the re­cent com­mu­nal cri­sis in­volv­ing both com­mu­ni­ties.

He ex­plained that the army was for peace, adding that he had or­dered in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent and found that no sol­dier fired a sin­gle shot, let alone killing peo­ple.

He ad­vised jour­nal­ists to do proper in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore re­port­ing sen­si­tive is­sues, as such was fu­el­ing the cri­sis. While urg­ing the youths to eschew vi­o­lence, he said, but for the in­ter­ven­tion of the mil­i­tary, the clash could have es­ca­lated.

He said sol­diers were not only de­ployed in the area, they also es­tab­lished camps in the bound­ary be­tween the two com­mu­ni­ties.

The Ovie of Udu told the GOC that he was happy that the army was in the com­mu­nity to main­tain peace and or­der, es­pe­cially as the peo­ple were also peace lov­ing.

EDO State Gov­er­nor, God­win Obaseki, has in­au­gu­rated eight-mem­ber Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil for the state-owned Am­brose Alli Univer­sity (AAU), Ekpoma. He urged the coun­cil mem­bers to work to­wards repo­si­tion­ing the univer­sity into a world-class in­sti­tu­tion.

He ex­pressed con­cern at the fall­ing stan­dard in the univer­sity, which was the sec­ond state-owned univer­sity that was es­tab­lished in Nige­ria.

Obaseki said the high-qual­ity stan­dard set by the in­sti­tu­tion 34 years ago had waned over the years, which showed that ur­gent ac­tion is needed to ad­dress the sit­u­a­tion.

He said: “The man­date of the in­sti­tu­tion is to teach, carry out re­search and pro­vide ser­vices to the commu- nity. Af­ter 34 years of its es­tab­lish­ment, these ex­pec­ta­tions have not been met. We have re­duced the univer­sity to one that is driven by po­lit­i­cal agents of who­ever is in govern­ment.”

The gov­er­nor as­sured mem­bers of the coun­cil of his ad­min­is­tra­tion’s sup­port in en­sur­ing that they suc­ceed in the task of repo­si­tion­ing the in­sti­tu­tion.

He ex­plained: “We spend over N300 mil­lion monthly on the univer­sity and we are ready to put more money on in­fra­struc­ture. But we will not do so un­til we are con­vinced that govern­ment ar­range­ment in the univer­sity is the right one that can prop­erly man­age the re­sources.”

He urged the coun­cil to work with the govern­ment to en­sure the set­ting up of a visi­ta­tion panel to re­view and un­der­stand what went wrong in the univer­sity.

The gov­er­nor ex­plained that the state govern­ment was work­ing on de­vel­op­ing an ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy, which would be un­veiled in the com­ing weeks.

“This pol­icy will em­pha­sise ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion which is the foun­da­tion to pre­pare our chil­dren for the chal­lenges of life. The move is a fun­da­men­tal shift from what ob­tained in the last 30 years,” he said.

Chair­man of the gov­ern­ing coun­cil, Mr. Law­son Omokho­dion, lauded the gov­er­nor for the con­fi­dence ire­posed in the mem­bers, and promised that the mem­bers will put in their best to make it one of the best uni­ver­si­ties in the world.

MEM­BERS of the Bi­afra Zion­ists Fed­er­a­tion (BZF) have threat­ened to com­mit sui­cide over the where­abouts of their leader, Ben­jamin On­wuka.

In a state­ment by the Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor of the BZF, Ogbu Gil­bert, he said they had waited in vain for the De­part­ment of State Ser­vices, (DSS) to ei­ther release their leader, or charge him to court.

He said On­wuka has re­mained in­com­mu­ni­cado two months af­ter the group's en­counter with se­cu­rity op­er­a­tives in Enugu.

He said: “We want to fur­ther in­form Nige­ri­ans and the In­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity about the un­law­ful de­ten­tion of our leader, Ben­jamin On­wuka by men of the DSS. “It is now over two months and they have re­fused to charge him to court, con­trary to the pro­vi­sions of Nige­ria's Con­sti­tu­tion, which says no­body should be de­tained be­yond 24 hours.”

They ex­pressed con­cern that south­east gover­nors and Ohanaeze Ndigbo have re­mained silent on the is­sue, al­leg­ing their col­lab­o­ra­tion in the mat­ter.

He de­clared: “We are is­su­ing a seven-day ul­ti­ma­tum, af­ter which we have no op­tion than to com­mit sui­cide. We shall oc­cupy all the roads in the south­east and make ve­hi­cles to crush them, or killed by se­cu­rity forces.

“By this state­ment, we are draw­ing the at­ten­tion of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, es­pe­cially the United Na­tions, the Amnesty In­ter­na­tional, the United States and Is­rael to the op­pres­sive ten­den­cies of the present Fed­eral Govern­ment of Nige­ria.”

Chair­man, Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil, Am­brose Alli Univer­sity, Ekpoma, Law­son Omokho­dion (left); Edo State Gov­er­nor, God­win Obaseki, Deputy Gov­er­nor, Philip Shaibu, and Sec­re­tary to the State Govern­ment, Osar­o­dion Ogie, at the in­au­gu­ra­tion of eight-man Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil for the univer­sity, at Govern­ment House, Benin City

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