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No Hiding Place For Suspected Cultists, Kidnappers In Rivers

Few days ago, soldiers suspected to be from the 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, Port Harcourt, raided the residences of a former militant leader, Chief Solomon Ndigbara, popularly known as ‘Osama bin Laden’ in Bia Yeghe community in Gokana local government area of Rivers State, and in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
The military raid in the ex – militant leader’s residence in Bia Yeghe community occurred on Sunday, January 10, 2016, while the raid in his Port Harcourt residence, located along NTA Road in the Mgbuoba area of the state capital occurred on Monday, January 11, 2015.
The raid of Ndigbara’s residences came few days after the police raided the residence of another ex-militant leader and Caretaker Committee Chairman of Asari-Toru local government area, Mr. Sobomabo Jackrich, popularly known as ‘Egberi Papa.’
However, Captain Eli Lazarus, the assistant director, Army Public Relations, 2 Brigade, Nigerian Army, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, confirmed that operatives of the Nigerian Army raided the residence of a former militant leader, Solomon Ndigbara, popularly known as ‘Osama Bin Laden’ in Gokana local government area of Rivers State.
Captain Eli Lazarus, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, said Ndigbara was suspected of involvement in gun running and kidnapping activities.
The statement reads in part, “Men of 2 Brigade Nigerian Army relying on credible intelligence conducted a raid operation on Sunday, 11January 2016 on the residence of one Mr Solo also known as ‘General Solo’ in Bori, Gokana local government area of Rivers State. Mr Solo is suspected of gun running and kidnapping activities.
“Sadly, supporters of suspect mobilised and staged a protest against the raid. During the protest, several property belonging to the suspect and other innocent citizens were destroyed. Investigation into the suspected criminal activities of Mr Solo is ongoing.
“The Brigade enjoins all law abiding citizens in the area to go about their lawful activities as the military will continue to work assiduously to ensure the protection of lives and property of all.”
Apparently uncomfortable with the actions of the security operatives so far, a coalition of civil society groups in Rivers State have condemned the raid at the residences of the two former militant leaders, Jackrich and Ndigbara by men of the Nigerian Police and the Nigerian Army.
Barrister Naabulobari Naazigha-Lue, who addressed newsmen on behalf of the groups, wondered why the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal government will resort to self help, in total disregard for the rule of law and disobedience to court orders.
Naazigha-Lue said, “The print and electronic media are awash with the police/ military attempted murder, invasion and destruction of the country homes and guest house of the caretaker chairman of Asari-Toru local government area of Rivers State, Hon. (Amb) Sobomabo Jackrich at Buguma, in Asari-Toru local government area of Rivers State, Nigeria, on January 6, 2016, at the wee hours of 3:30am.
“The equally phantom invasion and destruction of both homes of Chief Solomon Ndigbara at his country home in Bua-Yeghe community in Gokana local government area of Rivers State, Nigeria on January 10, 2016, and at his residence at NTA, Port Harcourt, Rivers State and the burning of Abuja waterfront, is the height of repression, only experienced under the most draconian military regimes.
“We therefore call on the Buhari-led federal government to exercise power with utmost restraints under a democratic dispensation, and avoid every temptation to return Nigeria back to the dark days when villages, properties and human beings were treated as though existing in the slave era.”
Barely 24 hours after the raid on the residences of Ndigbara, soldiers moved into Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of the state, where they raided the residence of Igwe Ejima Dibia, popularly known as Don Wannie, alleged to be the leader of a notorious cult group in the area.
Without wasting much time, the soldiers descended on camps of suspected cultists in the forests of Aliuku village in Omoku, headquarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government area of Rivers State.
It was gathered that helicopters deployed by the Nigerian Airforce to assist ground troops of the Nigerian Army were seen hovering around the forests, while soldiers on foot made in road into the dreaded camps.
But, Governor Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike believes that with the action of the military and police in the state, the people of the state are under the siege of the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police.
The governor stated that the joint military and police invasions, which has taken place in Gokana, Asari-Toru and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni local government areas, were led by one Major Mustapha, whom he described as a pro- All Progressives Congress (APC) military officer.
Wike, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt by his special assistant on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, alleged that in most of the raids in the three local government areas, the military and police team were always accompanied by known thugs of the opposition APC
The statement reads in part, “These joint military/police invasions have taken place in three LGAs of the state namely Gokana, Asari-Toru and Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni (ONELGA). One recurring decimal in these three deadly invasions is the fact that one Major Mustapha features in all of them. Major Mustapha , a Pro-APC military officer, was the Rivers State APC star witness during the hearing of election petitions in Abuja.
“At Asari-Toru LGA on 6th January, 2016, Major Mustapha and his team of dare-devil soldiers and mobile policemen invaded the residences of the caretaker council chairman, Ambassador Sobomabo Jackrich, destroying his homes and valuables before killing about five youths. They also abducted 50 youths and women who were taken to Port Harcourt.
“The same scenario played out in Bua Yeghe in Gokana LGA where Major Mustapha and his illegal politically motivated squad attacked the home of Chief Solomon Ndigbara, a former Niger Delta agitator. They burnt his home, before abducting his wife and 70 other youths. The Major Mustapha illegal squad also attacked the home of Chief Ndigbara in Port Harcourt, damaging the facility.
“On 13th January, 2016 the soldiers and mobile policemen were at ONELGA where they unleashed mayhem on lives and property. The residents of the area are still counting their losses.
“It is imperative to point out that in these three LGAs where Major Mustapha and other illegal security operatives struck, they were accompanied by known APC political thugs and militants who acted as identity operatives. These APC agents who were embedded in these illegal operations were kitted with security uniforms. Despite these security costumes, they were identified by locals.
“This level of political desperation is unknown to the nation’s democratic history. No authority had in the past handed security platforms to political thugs and associates to unleash untold mayhem and deaths on law abiding citizens.”
However, the APC, which had earlier denied involvement in the raids in Jackrich and Ndigbara’s residences, accused Wike and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) of blackmailing Nigeria’s security forces who are clamping down on suspected cultists in parts of the state.
Chairman of the APC in the state, Dr. Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, alleged that the governor, through his media aide, Simeon Nwakaudu, deliberately and mischievously misrepresented ongoing security operations by security forces to neutralise known criminals in dark spots across the state.
Ikanya further alleged that the governor tried to paint the wrong picture of politics on otherwise purely security operations hopefully contrived by security agencies in response to the fast degenerating security situation in the state.
He stated that under normal circumstances, the governor should have risen in support of the ongoing exercise.

Culled from the Leadership Newspaper

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