Tension in Warri as Navy kills Tompolo’s Kinsman

Tension on Friday enveloped Gbaramatu kingdom in Warri South-West Local Government Area of Delta State as men of the Nigeri­an Navy recently deployed to the area following re­newed vandalization of oil installations, were alleged to have shot dead a sand scooper on Thursday.

The victim identified as Bernard Pius was allegedly killed at a jetty in Tebujor Okpelama community, a Gbaramatu enclave where wanted ex-militant leader, High Chief Government Ekpemukpolo alias Tom­polo hails from.

Since the incident, anger is reported to be building up among the people as the fragile peace existing in the kingdom was said to have been threatened by the killing.

Tebujor Okpelama com­munity chairman, Moses Yabrade told journalists at the village that the late Pius was scooping sand at the jetty when a naval officer he identified as Izonfade Kenneth led other naval men to the area and shot at their son unprovoked, who in turn fell into the river and died.

The Navy officer who is incidentally an Ijaw, regu­larly patrolled the vicinity in a gunboat following re­cent vandalization of major pipelines in the waterways of Warri South West Coun­cil, Yabrade narrated.

Tebujor Okpelama community chairman ex­plained; “The incident happened at about 10pm Thursday night. Pius was scooping sand and it is a normal commercial ac­tivity at such quiet time when fishermen also ply their trade. The victim was alerted by folks that his sand boat on a 40 horse­power engine at the Jetty was drifting.

“He then rushed back and was pulling it back ashore with another boat. That was the point Izon­fade patrolled in with other colleagues in a gunboat. After shooting and kill­ing him he moved into the community bragging about the act and threat­ening to shoot another person if he does not get gratification.

“He was offered N5000 before he joined his col­leagues in the waiting gunboat and they disappeared, leaving us to mourn our dead. Inciden­tally, the shooter is an Ijaw man we initially see as one of us, but he and his col­leagues have been terror­izing us. The officer must be brought to book or we will take to self-help.”

A prominent Gbarama­tu Chief, Chief Godspow­er Gbenekama, the Bebe­nowei (Chief Mobilizer) of Gbaramatu kingdom lamented the incident calling on the federal government to ensure that the naval officer was arrested and persecuted.

Gbenekama who con­veyed the corpse of the middle age man to mor­tuary said if nothing was done by the government the situation may snow­balled into crisis in the Ni­ger Delta region.

But in a swift reaction to the allegation, Com­mander, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Delta, Com­modore Raimi Moham­med said it was too early for him to give a true picture of what transpired, noting that his men may have fol­lowed standard operating procedures and not shot indiscriminately.

The Herald News

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