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Gunmen attack: Naval officers still stay away from posts

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By Phil Okose, Onitsha

Since the recent gunmen’s attack at two naval checkpoints – Uga Junction in Onitsha and Awkuzu Junction in Oyi local government area of Anambra state – in which some of the naval officers were allegedly, killed, naval officers are yet to return to the posts.

When this reporter visited the Uga junction naval check-point, it looked abandoned nursing the fear that hoodlums may convert the make-shift structure there as hideout.

According to a commercial tricycle (keke) operator who plies the Atani/Odekpe/Ossamala road and simply identified himself as Papa Ejima, “my brother, there is trouble; why will they not run away when their colleagues stationed at Onitsha/Owerri Road and Awkuzu Junction were recently gunned down?”

“Since that incident and the most recent at Awkuzu juction, where the same story was told, the naval officers had to retreat, possibly, to enable them ready for war against the hoodlums.”

“So, they are now back to their Naval Post at Odekpe where passers-by are forced to raise their hands in solidarity before they pass through the naval post to their destinations.”

Also speaking, a trader at the Onitsha Main market, who resides at Odekpe and pleaded anonymity, hinted that, “we now hands up as we pass through the naval post and if it were a tricycle, all the occupants have to come down and hands up as they pass through while the tricycle operator has to switch off the tricycle engine and push it pass over the naval post before the occupants will then reboard.”

“We don’t blame the naval officers; after all, the police have more of the loss of personnel than the military officers.

On how to avoid a recurrence he stated that, “the military should be well equipped especially the navy because they only assist the infantry to check-mate crimes on land”. “Without the Navy assisting in crime prevention in Anambra state, this place would have turned to a crime state.”

“The naval commander, Captain Innocent Udoh Udoh, has been of immense assistance to those of us living in riverine communities. Since he assumed office as the Odekpe Naval Post Commander, crimes in riverine areas are almost at zero tolerance.”

“Before he came in pirates took over the River Niger and its surroundings and there were cases of sand dealers, tipper drivers, among others all over the place but since his arrival, peace has been restored and residents and other now sleep with their two eyes closed.”

In his reaction, the state chairman of Civil Liberties Organisation, CLO, Comrade Vincent Ezekwueme, condemned the brutal killing of security agents and called for respect to sanctity and sacredness of human persons.

In a press statement the CLO said that, “the actions of the perpetrators are inhuman, barbaric, horrendous and worst form of man’s inhumanity against his fellow men.”

“It is most despicable and detestable to mindlessly kill security men who have patriotically dedicated and devoted their lives, time and talents towards protection of lives and properties of citizens.”

“When gold rusts, what will happen to the iron? If those constitutionally empowered to protect us are barbarically murdered, the future will not only be bleak but no one will be safe.”

They called for an end to the dastardly act and discreet investigation carried out in other to bring the perpetrators to face the full wrath of the law. “We appeal to citizens to respect the commandments of ‘thou shall not kill’. Remember anyone who kills innocent person will lose not only his life but everything he is and he has.”

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