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Monarch surrenders, Prof, six others wanted over soldiers killing 

Monarch surrenders, Prof, six others wanted over soldiers killing 

A Traditional ruler, Clement Ikolo Ogenerukeywe, has been detained by the Delta State Police command in connection with the killing of 17 officers and soldiers of the Nigeria Army 15 days ago.

The State Police Commissioner Abaniwonda Olufemi said Oghenerukevwe, who is the Urhukpe I of Emu Kindom, “turned himself in” shortly after the  Defence Headquarters declared him and seven other  wanted.

Okuama where the military men comprising a Leutenant Colonel, two Majors, one Captain, and 13 soldiers were gruesomely killed, is a clan in Emu Kingdom

 The other wanted persons include a professor of Physics, Ekpekpo Arthur;  Andaowei Bakriri, Akevwru Omotegbo (a.k.a Amagben), Akata   David, Sinclear Oliki,  Reuben Baru and Igoli Ebi.

Ogenerukeywe’s  ascension to the throne was fraught with controversy with many Emu Kindom indigenes embarking on a protest. 

The protesters, mainly women, described the approval as unacceptable and sacrilegious, stressing that Oghenerukevwe was not an indigene of the kingdom.

Arthur is the President General of Ewu Kingdom. He is a Professor of Solid State Physics and a member of Nigeria Institute of Physics, Nigeria Association of Mathematical Physics  and Science Association of Nigeria (SAN).

The 17 Army personnel  were given national burial on Wednesday at National Military Cemetery Abuja with full national honours.

 President Bola Armed Tinubu, who in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces  attended the ceremony, reiterated that the  killers must be brought to book.

Defence Media Operations Director Edward Buba released a banner containing the names and photographs of the wanted persons to reporters in Abuja.

Buba, a major-general, also gave insight into the release of  313 suspected Boko Haram members, the rescue of 137 Kuduna schoolchildren and military operations in  different parts of the country in the last 14 days.

Warning that the military would not allow occurrence of the Okuama massacre of its men in any part of the country, the Defence Media Operations boss charged “elders and community leaders”  to expose the wanted persons.

He said: “The banner of eight wanted persons involved with the killing, including a woman, is hereby released. Accordingly, it is necessary to state that citizens are our first line of intelligence and must rise to the occasion in honour of their nation

“The elders and community leaders have an obligation to expose these wanted persons but troops would continue with their efforts until the culprits are found, arrested, tried and brought to justice.”

Gen. Buba wondered why people would kill security operatives in spite of the huge social responsibility roles played by the Armed Forces in their operational zones.

Speaking on the release of 313 Boko Haram suspects, Gen. Buba said: “The court ordered their  release for want of evidence after the conclusion of investigation and other ancillary matters.

“The cases were prosecuted by the Department of Prosecution , Federal Ministry of Justice. Accordingly, they would be handed over to the Borno State Government for further action.”

He, however, said the military would improve on its evidence gathering mechanism in order to nail anyone  taken to court in connection with terror activities.

“These operations are complex. Going forward, we would improve our battlefield evidence in order to gather concrete evidence,” Gen. Buba  assured.

He said the rescue of  the 137 Kaduna  schoolchildren and 16 kidnap victims in Sokoto showed the dynamic nature of security challenges in the country and  military’s resolve  to tackle them.

Gen. Buba explained that the “pressure of military operations” on both the children and their captors played an important part in rescue operation.

He said: “The rescue of the hostages is indicative of a better understanding of the dynamics of what we are dealing with and to address the issue in a much safer manner.

“The rescue operations were based on collaboration between the military working with local authorities and government agencies across the country, in a coordinated approach.

“The success demonstrates the unwavering commitment of the armed forces to secure and protect the citizens against harm and acts of terror.

“The pressure of military operations created a significant level of distress both for the terrorist and the children. Given the situation, troops’ line of interest was the children. The level of distress created by the children was sufficient enough for troops to exploit in their rescue. “

On  the successes recorded by the military in different theatres of operations in the past two weeks, the Defence spokesperson said, troops killed 212 suspected terrorists and arrested 252 others. 

He also said that  troops arrested 29  suspected oil thieves  and rescued 244  kidnap victims during the period.

In the Southsouth, oil thieves were prevented from making away with crude valued at over  N1 billion while 223  weapons and 2,756 assorted ammunition were retrieved from other criminals

Ndume hails presidential honour for slain Army 17.

Senate Chief Whip Ali Ndume, has lauded President Bola Tinubu for conferring posthumous awards on  the 17 officers and soldiers of the Army.

Ndume said that for attending the funeral, the President  demonstrated that he is patriotic.

“I commend President Bola Tinubu for attending the funeral of the soldiers slain at Okuama and for awarding their children full scholarships, as well as presenting houses to their survivors,” he said.

Also yesterday, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, urged the military to ensure that the manhunt for the suspected killers  followed military rules of engagement.

“Nobody is stopping the military from carrying out their duties to flush out criminal elements. What we are saying is that they should work with credible intelligence so that  innocent people will not pay for a sin they did not commit,” said the group’s Spokesman   Binebai Princewill. @thenation

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