Okuama Killings: Community Ruins After Murder of 17 Soldiers, Oborevwori’s Visit Brings Hope

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Governor Sheriff Oborevwori visited the devastated Okuama-Ewu community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, where debris from demolished buildings littered the area.

The Anglican Church, along with a few other structures, appeared to be spared from destruction, with soldiers temporarily occupying the remaining houses.

The villagers had fled the community following the tragic killings of 17 military personnel and an unspecified number of residents on March 14. The desolate state of Okuama-Ewu, overrun by weeds and devoid of any welcoming residents, painted a grim picture during the governor’s visit, which occurred 37 days after the tragic incident.

Despite previous denial of access to the community by the Army, Governor Oborevwori, accompanied by top government officials and the military, sought to assess the situation and explore ways to reintegrate the displaced residents.

He assured that efforts were underway to resolve the crisis and facilitate the return of Okuama-Ewu residents to their homes.

Oborevwori told reporters, “We have followed due process in the whole incident. The people (17 soldiers) have been buried and the king who was detained was released yesterday (Friday) and today (Saturday) I am here to see what happened in the Okuama community.

“The Okuama-17 is something that we did not expect to happen because it is against our bargain for peace and security which, I promised Deltans, that we are going to enhance.

“We have been enjoying peace and security since last year until the 14th of March when the four army officers and 13 soldiers were murdered.

“They were not just murdered, their bodies were mutilated and we have come here to see what happened.

“Let me again reiterate Mr President’s promise that no innocent person would be victimised and you can see that, from that time till now, there has been no harassment of citizens of this community.

“I have come to see how the innocent people of this community can be reintegrated back with the cooperation of the military.

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

“We know it is a big loss to them, but we have to follow due process. The Brigade Commander is with us and the newly – posted Commander of 181 Battalion, Lt Col Dabo, is also here with us, and it is a great synergy.”

Reiterating that citizens of Okuama would soon return home, Oborevwori said: “Let me once again thank Mr President and Commander-in-Chief, President Bola Tinubu, the Chief of the Army Staff, and the Chief of the Defence Staff for their cooperation so far.

“They have been very supportive and they have kept to their promise that innocent people will not be victimised.

“I want to assure the people of Okuama that there is no point running away from your community.

“We are going to bring you back to your community. It is only those that are involved the military are looking for”.

During Governor Oborevwori’s visit to Okuama-Ewu, he did not directly inquire about the identity of the entity responsible for the demolition of the villagers’ homes, and no explanation was volunteered to him by anyone present.

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A source at a neighbouring community told journalists, “The governor passed through our community waterways to Okuama this morning. As I am talking to you, he has already left Okuama passing through our waterways back to Warri.

“Though he passed through our waterways, he did not stop in Okoloba, he moved straight back to Warri.

“However, soldiers are still at Okuama and there is no free movement of people on the waterways as was before the governor’s visit. Movement is restricted here because of their sojourn at Okuama.”

Another source at Akugbene community said: “The governor visited Okuama this morning (yesterday) and has gone back already.

“But, what I want to tell you is this, since the military occupation of Okuama, there has been restriction of movement along the waterways. “We cannot pass through Okuama to neighbouring communities because the military has restricted movement.

“Market boats moving to and fro Okuagbe market in Ughelli South Local Government Area, where you would pass through Okuama, have not been allowed to move.

“There is indeed food scarcity here, coupled with the current economic situation in the country. There is really hunger in the communities along the Forcados River and creeks here.

“My plea is that the Army should relax the restriction of movement on market boats plying the creeks to Okuagbe and other markets to ameliorate the sufferings of the people here”.

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