Freedom at Last As Military Frees Traditional Ruler Amid Okuama Crisis in Ewu Kingdom

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Clement Ikolo Oghenerukvwe, the traditional ruler of the Ewu kingdom, who surrendered himself during the investigations into the killings of 17 military officers in Okuoma, Delta State, has been released by the Nigerian Army.

In a brief ceremony held at the Nigerian Army Headquarters in Abuja, Major General Onyema Nwachukwu, the Director of Army Public Relations, handed him over to Senator Ede Dafinone, representing Delta Central.

General Nwachukwu stated that the Army meticulously reviewed all available information on the incident and has reached a preliminary observation.

While the traditional ruler’s culpability has not been conclusively established, there is insufficient evidence to exonerate anyone at this stage.

Furthermore, General Nwachukwu mentioned that due to the intervention of prominent individuals and the monarch’s voluntary surrender, he has been released to Senator Dafinone with the condition that he will cooperate in the ongoing investigations.

The Army appealed to other suspects to present themselves for questioning.

The traditional ruler surrendered himself hours after the Defence Headquarters declared him and seven others wanted for their alleged involvement in the recent killing of 17 military personnel on a peacekeeping mission to Delta State in March.

The individuals declared wanted include Prof. Ekpekpo Arthur, Andaowei Dennis Bakriri, Akevwru Daniel Omotegbo (also known as Amagben), Akata Malawa David, Sinclear Oliki, Reuben Baru, and Igoli Ebi.

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On March 14, a tragic incident occurred in Okuama community, Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, where 17 military personnel were brutally murdered. Among the victims were the Commanding Officer of the 181 Amphibious Battalion, two majors, one captain, and 13 soldiers from the battalion.

The soldiers had responded to a distress call stemming from a conflict between the Okuama and Okoloba communities. Unfortunately, they were ambushed by enraged youths during a communal clash over a dispute between Bomadi and Okuoma communities in the state.

The mutilated bodies of the slain soldiers were later discovered in neighboring rivers. On March 27, a funeral ceremony was held at the National Military Cemetery in Abuja, where President Bola Tinubu was in attendance to pay respects to the fallen military personnel.

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