Okuama: Army not taking laws into its hands by declaring people wanted – Defence Chief

The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa said the Nigerian Army was not taking laws into its hands by declaring wanted, some persons wanted over the killing of 17 officers in the Okuama community of Delta State recently.

Musa stated this in an interview on Arise Television on Wednesday.

Senior Advocates of Nigeria, SANs, and retired judges had said the Nigerian Police Force, NPF, ought to handle investigations into the recent murder of 17 soldiers, and an unconfirmed number of villagers at Okuama in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The legal luminaries also faulted the handing over of the traditional ruler of Ewu Kingdom, Delta State, HRM Clement Ikolo by the Police to the Army.

Ikolo was one of the eight persons declared wanted by the Defence Headquarters, DHQ, Abuja, over the Okuama incident.

According to the senior lawyers, it is not the constitutional duty of the Army to investigate the murder.

Speaking on the allegation against the Army, Musa said, “It was premeditated just because the groups of criminals, cultists, and militants make a lot of money from crude oil theft, believing they are above board;

“…and they did this deliberately just because the commanding officer and his team were ensuring that any act of pipeline vandalism, crude oil theft, or illegal refineries were eradicated from that region.

“The commanding officer was a gallant officer who had done well across the North. For him to be killed in such a manner as a chicken is unacceptable. We’re happy that the Commander in Chief has given us the mandate to recover the arms from the perpetrators.

“A lot of comments have been made by different people, some from a lack of understanding. When you have a joint task force, it involves members of the Armed Forces, Police, DSS, NIA, and any other security agencies, so when we have an arrest, we have a joint investigation team. So, the army is not taking laws into their own hands.”

Speaking further, he stated , who turned himself in for investigation, is in safe hands. He added that the investigation is conducted by the Joint Task Force (JTF), which included a police component, dismissing allegations that

“The police handed him over to the JTF, which has a police component. It’s a joint investigation that is being conducted.

“What we want Nigerians to understand is that we love Nigerians, we defend the country, and we will not do anything to hurt innocent Nigerians; we’re only after the bad guys.

“The chief is safe and secured; nothing is going to happen to him. He’s just there for questioning, which will aid in the investigation. I can tell you nobody can say he doesn’t know what was happening; maybe he didn’t take part directly,” he said.

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