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CSOs, security expert knock Akpabio for linking soldiers’ killing to mercenaries

Written by on March 20, 2024

Civil society organizations, CSOs, and a security expert have berated Senate President Godswill Akpabio for linking Thursday’s killings of 16 military men in Delta State to foreign mercenaries.

The troops were killed while on a peace mission to the warring communities of Okuoma and Okoloba.

Akpabio spoke on Tuesday during plenary when the Senate resolved to set up a committee to unmask the circumstances behind the military personnel’s killings.

“I don’t want to conclude that these people are from Niger Delta because we respect men and women in uniform. That’s why I’m saying that your additional prayer should be to carry out a thorough investigation to know whether they were mercenaries outside Nigeria, who came in to commit this crime because I don’t think these people are from Niger Delta.

“We’re not at war. Even in the field of war, to lose such a large number of personnel, no community will go to the extent of doing that kind of thing; I don’t think they’re from Niger Delta. So, I think the first point should be that we should establish the culprits who committed this crime,” Akpabio said.

According to him, the panel would be saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that those involved in the killings were brought to justice.

Reacting to Akpabio’s claims, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC, and Transparency International-Nigeria, TI-Nigeria, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, said: “A criminal is a criminal irrespective of where he or she comes from. So, to support or to give a kind of soft landing to people who have carried out this barbaric and murder against serving security officials, is condemnable.”

On his part, the Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Gad Peter, said political leaders should be careful about their comments “after incidents or crimes have taken place.”

“For Akpabio to say the people that killed those soldiers are foreigners means that he has information. So, he should provide the details of which nation invaded our country so that we can go to war with them for killing our soldiers,” he said.

In the same vein, the Team Lead/Convener Good Governance Team Nigeria, Tunde Salman, described Akpabio’s comment as very sad, unacceptable and condemnable, urging that the culprits should be identified and justice served.

National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, on his part said: “He (Akpabio) is simply guessing. So, he may be right and he may be wrong.

“Foreign elements could mean strange persons from outside of that community where the incident happened.”

A security expert, Haruna Garba, questioned why Akpabio made such a comment without seeing the outcome of the investigation.

Source: Jordan 105.5fm News Bulletin

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