Unjust Killings of Our Military Personnel Must Stop

By Taiwo Olapade

The killing of sixteen Nigerian soldiers, including four senior officers, in one fell swoop last Thursday in the Okuama community in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State, is not only barbaric but also an affront to the military, and highly condemnable.

The victims, who paid the supreme price, were deployed to the area on a peace and rescue mission after distress calls were made to restore calm in a communal clash between locals.

It is gradually becoming a norm in the South-South and South-East parts of the country to hear such gory news of the killings of members of our Armed Forces or policemen, to say the least. To make matters worse, the bodies of the fallen heroes that have now been recovered were mutilated by those we can call the enemies of the nation who carried out the heinous crime.

However, the act of reprisal attacks by the military on Okuama village and its environs is also not right since it will not provide an acceptable solution to the crisis.

I see this latest onslaught on the military as a litmus test of their intelligence capacity to fish out the real killers of some of their own instead of unguarded attacks on innocent members of the sinful community.

The marching order by President Tinubu to the military hierarchy to swiftly fish out the killers of our Armed Forces and ensure that justice is quickly served is in order. I strongly believe that if the real killers of the soldiers in the riverine Okuama community are brought to book, it will serve as a lesson to other so-called killers and vampires in the region.

This is the time when the immediate members of our fallen heroes must not only receive love and compassion but also the greatest care from the nation. To start with, since their breadwinners died in active service, it is expected that their loved ones should not be sent packing from their homes, either in the barracks or elsewhere.

I put this challenge to Mr. President, the Minister of Defence, and the Chief of Defence Staff to ensure that their entitlements are fully paid in due course for the bereaved families to move on.

I am glad that some prominent leaders in the South-South have strongly condemned the killings of the military personnel in Delta State, but Nigerians want them to go a step further by supporting the drive by the military to arrest the perpetrators of this ungodly act.

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