Riverslawmaker, traditional leaders move to end killings in Ogoni

Member representing Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency, Dumnamene Deekor, condoling with Mrs Lesi, wife of Chief Cletus Mene and other family members at Baa-Lorre community in Khana, Rivers State.

By Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt

Communities in Khana Local Government Area ofRivers state are now living in fear following incessant killings by rival cultgroups in the area in the name of supremacy war.

On visit to some communities in the area, our correspondent,Blessing Ibunge, witnessed residents of Bangha, Baa-Lorre and Luebe ran forsafety at the sight of incoming vehicles. The communities looked very dried aseveryone has disappeared to unknown hidden area in fear of being attacked by thehoodlums.

The residents were afraid of reoccurring incidentsas they have suffered serials of killing of Chiefs and other members of thecommunities within two days of attack by the rival cult groups who commit thecrime and ran away from the area.

It was reported early last week that the war ofsupremacy between Icelanders and Greenlanders in Luebe, Baa-Lorre and Bangha Communitiesin Khana LGA claimed the lives of eight cultists and two Chief.

The boys did not only took lives they alsodestroyed properties in the area, including burning down the house of one ChiefCletus Mene, after killing him in Baa-Lorre community.

But the state Police Public Relations Officer, SPNnamdi Omoni in his reaction to the incident, had said the attack claimed the livesof two cultists and a chief, who he alleged was supporting one of the Cultgroups.

Omoni said “Report from the Divisional PoliceOfficer, revealed that the two Cult groups which had been locked in a perennialwar of supremacy, stormed the Community and went for their perceived opponents,killing two and a Chief, whose wife later went to the Station to lodge theincident and on the receipt of the complaint, the DPO and his men immediatelymobilized to the scene and restored normalcy.

“This is contrary to the news reports which claimedthat two Chiefs and eight others were killed after the Community was invaded byunknown gunmen who shot sporadically for two days running, uninterrupted”.

The police spokesperson also disclosed thatsecurity has been beefed up in the area, with assurance to arresting theperpetrators.

“Meanwhile security has been beefed up in theCommunity and other adjoining Villages to forestall reprisal attacks, whileefforts have been intensified to arrest the perpetrators and bring them tojustice”.

However, Member representing Khana/Gokana FederalConstituency, Dumnamene Deekor, has condemned the killings in communities in theLGA.

The lawmaker said that government shall come afterthose culpable in the latest attack in the area.

Speaking at the weekend during his visit to Bangha,Baa-Lorre, and Lue-Luebe communities where he met families of victims of the attack,the lawmaker said that the incessant attacks on locals will no longer becondoned.

He said “I was in Abuja asmember presenting Khana/Gokana Federal Constituency and I was informed thatcult clashes took place in some communities in my constituency and to thatextent, I had to come immediately.

“I came to make sure I get tothe scene of the heinous crimes. I have been to His Royal Highness palace inBengha kingdom, where I understand about six persons were killed. I understandthose ones were cultists who fought and killed themselves. But of course youknow they are living in the midst of the people, so whatever they do that takesthem into crime has negative multiply effect on the society.

“We have also gone to Baa-Lorrewhere a Chief was murdered and his house was burnt down. We have seen the wifeand other members of the family. This Chief was killed in cold blood bycharacters who weigh guns in the name of cultism.

“Here we are again in Lubecommunity, also in Khana Local Government Area, a Chief was also murdered.

“My call is on those who are intothis particular nefarious attitude that it is high time they took to anotherlife. What they are doing is so bad, if they do not understand because I knowthey have parents, they have brothers, relatives and friends.

“In all these communities, wehave people who are living and everybody knows these characters that arecarrying out this dastardly act. Everyday innocent people are being killed, twoChiefs have just been killed and the only crime they just committed is thatthey are coming from this area. Whether they say they are Iceland or whateverthey call them, Deygbam or Deywell, a stop should be put to this.

“We must declare war on anybodywho is a cultist in Ogoni and I will lead the fight, people now live in fear”.

Speaking further, he revealed that to check theexcess of the rampaging cultists in the area, plans are underway to birth a newdivision of police in the LGA.

“Let me commend the DPO, I knowthat the distance from the Police Divisional Headquarters in Bori to this placeis very far and that is why I have always advocated for community policing andmy application to the IGP as we speak which by God’s grace we are aware thatthere is the likelihood that they will give us approval for another policeDivision in Khana, because is we have more police Division in Khana, I believe wewill be able to police the area better.

“But those who are in this act,I use the opportunity to call on the Inspector General of Police and all othersecurity operative to go after them, because the communities are prepared toname them and I will stand to whatever they are prepared to do to ensure thatthere is permanent solution to this act. Those who sponsor them should alsoknow that we are getting to know all of them.

“For us to end this crime,those who are involved in it, those who are recruited daily and those who sponsorthem should be ready to battle with the government”, Deekor warned.

Commissioner for Special Duties, Thomas Bariere,who also spoke on the incident, noted that perpetrators of the dastard act shall befished out, and urged the locals tosupport government by providing information that will lead to the arrest ofcultists within their domain.

“As Commissioner for SpecialDuties and one who is from this LGA, I want to say that our presence here todayis serving several purpose one of which is to serve as a wakeup call to allsecurity operatives in the area, that we are here and ready to give them theneeded support to ensure that these elements are removed from the society.

“Secondly, we are also here toassure our people that all hope is not lost yet, that government is concernabout them, government is concern about their safety and security and that iswhy we are here to give them reassurance that they must go about their lawfulbusiness without fear, that these persons who have committed these crimes willface the wrath of the law.

“You don’t come to the villageunleash terror and go back to Port Harcout, we will catch them wherever theyrun to”.

On a visit to the paramount ruler of Banghacommunity, His Royal Highness, Suanu T,Y Baridam at his palace, he solicitedthe corporation of the traditional and government institutions in the waragainst cultism.

He condemned the use of amnesty as a safe groundfor the cultists, calling that the policemen in the area should be replacedwith military personnel to tackle the insecurity challenge in the area.

“I think Bangha has been themost peaceful area and we cannot be intimidated. If they have a war of theircult, they should wait on the run and kill themselves and not to bring it tothe community where innocent persons are living. We know them, we know theirpeople and we know where they come from.

“On the issue of amnesty, I don’tbelieve in that. The reason I say I don’t believe in amnesty is that we werealmost at the edge of almost getting all of them off from the system before somebodycame and said they should be granted amnesty. Infact, the granting of them ofthat amnesty has created a situation where they now have a banner almosteverywhere and other opportunity to what they call deck.

“They will come to thecommunity to shoot gun and run back to Gwara, security people had to do theirwork. The Local Government Chairman had to do his work because you don’t createa community where you unleash crime and run to another place to go and stay.

“Once they come back to doanother killing here we will go after them; we will kill their mother, theirbrothers, we will follow them the same way, the community will defendthemselves. If they continue with the killing, we will kill them even upto theterm of Port Harcourt because we know all their agents.

The traditional ruler also thankedthe lawmaker, Deekor for visiting the affected communities and condoling withfamilies of victims. He added that “the present DPO is doing well but he needassistant”.

He said, “I don’t know thereason they remove the Army in the area and deployed only the police and thepolice that are here do not do anything when this crime is ongoing. We don’tneed the police now in the area, but the army because they are very active andthese boys fear them”.

On their part, families of the deceased narrated theirordeal, appealing for government’s assistance.

Mrs Lesi, wife of killed ChiefCletus Mene from Baa-Lorre community narrated “On Monday morning, when we allwoke up from our sleep, we were at the backyard and suddenly we saw two personsran from the bush and shot at my husband Chief Cletus and his brother, myhusband died but the brother is struggling for his life in the hospitalpresently.

“After shooting the Chief andbrother, the cult boys set our house ablaze and burnt it down”.

The mother of four children, solicitedfor assistance from government and well meaning Nigerians to erect theirbuilding back and bring the perpetrators to book.

Also, 25 year old Lucky Neeka,son of the Chief Neeka killed at Luebe community, said “At about 12am onTuesday, unknown gun man attacked our house. They chase my father out of thehouse, he ran to a nearby church compound and they shot him dead there”.

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