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Monday, April 15, 2024

Civil society organisations, security expert attack Akpabio for linking soldiers’ killing to mercenaries

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Civil society organisations and a security expert have criticized Senate President Godswill Akpabio for linking Thursday’s killings of 16 military personnel in Delta State to foreign mercenaries.

Akpabio spoke Tuesday during plenary when the Senate resolved to constitute a committee to unravel the circumstances behind the military personnel’s killings.

“I don’t want to conclude that these people are from Niger Delta because we respect men and women in uniform. That’s why I’m saying that your additional prayer should be to carry out a thorough investigation to know whether they were mercenaries outside Nigeria, who came in to commit this crime because I don’t think these people are from Niger Delta.

“We’re not at war. Even in the field of war, to lose such a number of personnel, no community will go to the extent of doing that kind of thing; I don’t think they’re from Niger Delta. So, I think the first point should be that we should establish the culprits who committed this crime.”

He said the panel would be saddled with the responsibility of ensuring that those involved in the killings were brought to justice.

Reacting to Akpabio’s claims, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) and Transparency International-Nigeria (TI-Nigeria) said: “A criminal is a criminals irrespective of where he or she comes from. So, to support or to give kind of soft landing to people who have carried out this barbaric and murder against serving security officials, is condemnable.”

Executive Director, CLEEN Foundation, Gad Peter, said political leaders should be careful about their comments “after incident or crimes have taken place.”

He said, “For Akpabio to say the people that killed those soldiers are foreigners means that he has information. So, he should provide the details of which nation invaded our country so that we can go to war with them for killing our soldiers.”

Tunde Salman, the Team Lead/ Convener Good Governance Team Nigeria, described Akpabio’s comment as very sad, unacceptable and condemnable.

He urged that the culprits should be identified and justice served.

But Emmanuel Onwubiko, National Coordinator, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), said: “He (Akpabio) is simply guessing. So, he may be right and he may be wrong.

“Foreign elements could mean strange persons from outside of that community where the incident happened.”

A security expert, Haruna Garba, wondered why Akpabio would make such a comment without seeing the outcome of the investigation.

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