From Noah Ocheni, Lokoja
The Itale Elite Association in Kogi state, has accused some unidentified Naval Officers of killing a farmer, Omoja Augustine Ida, in Itale, Ibaji Local Government Area.
In a statement signed by its Public Relations Officer (PRO), Dr Alex Attah, the group alleged that the officers invaded the community shooting sporadically when there was no uproar.
The group further alleged that the suspected naval officers were led into the village by the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Kogi State Governor on security in Ibaji Local Government Area, William Iko-ojo.
Attah however, revealed that the community had petitioned the Kogi State Commissioner of Police, Ede Ayuba, urging him to bring the perpetuators to book adding that, the community had been having a long history of communal clash with some neighbouring communities.
The case is currently being addressed by the Nigerian Police and the Ibaji Local Government Peace and Security Committee.
While insisting that the Nigerian Navy has no constitutional backing of resolving communal land dispute, Dr Attah appealed to the Naval high command to call their officers to order and avoid being used by some individuals to cause mayhem in a community that had over the years enjoy peaceful co-existence.
In a swift reaction, however, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the Kogi State Governor on Security in Ibaji Local Government,William Iko-ojo, told Journalists that as the chief security officer of the local government, protection of lives and property of Ibaji people remained his top priority which is in line with the current administration in the state.
While narrating the incident, Iko-ojo noted that, there have been a problem between Itale and Ishi communities in Ibaji over fish pond since the past years.
According to him, they were trying to settle a matter in a community when they got a distress call that some people from two different communities were fighting inside the bush with dangerous weapons, hence, he immediately mobilize men of the Nigerian Navy to nip it in the bud.
Explaining further, the SSA explained that despite the effort by the security agents to broker peace among the warring parties, some youths who were fully armed with dangerous weapons and charms in their necks and waists engaged the officers in gun duel that led to the death of Augustine Onoja.
It would be recalled that a commercial bus driver, Mr. Sunday Omika, who hailed from Ogbabo community in Ofu Local Government Area of Kogi state, was said to be killed by a Naval Officer along Ajegwu – Idah road last weekend after allegedly extorting money from the victim.