NewsOkuama Killings: Army Raids Edwin Clark's Residence In Delta, Apologises

Okuama Killings: Army Raids Edwin Clark’s Residence In Delta, Apologises

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March 26, (THEWILL) – Officers of the Nigerian Army, last Saturday, raided the Ughelli country home of Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, in Delta State, in search of suspects over the recent killing of their personnel in Okuama Community.

Speaking during a press conference in his Abuja residence on Tuesday, Chief Clark, a former Federal Commissioner of Information, said the military only contacted him after ransacking the house.

He said the army had broken into the house before they were informed that it belonged to him, causing the military to call and apologise to him.

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Chief Clark, who said he has accepted the apology and pledged his commitment to assist in unravelling the perpetrators of the killings in Okuama community, however, regretted that the Ughelli raid was not the first that had been carried out against him as his Abuja residence had also been searched by security personnel in September 2018.

Warning that nothing untoward must happen to him or it will attract a lot of rage, Chief Clark narrated: “At about 6pm on Saturday, 23rd March 2024, I got a telephone call from someone who identified himself as the Commanding Officer Nigerian Army Division in Port Harcourt. He said that a tracker of the Nigerian Army had tracked one Mr. Vote, the Community Chairman of Okuama Community, whom the Army was looking for in respect of the killings of the 17 men of the Nigerian Army, to a house in Ughelli, and that the military men had broken into the house, ransacked it, before they were informed that the house belongs to me, that he was very sorry and apologising to me on behalf of the Army.

“In my usual way and as a leader who is expected to condone as much as possible, I accepted his apology wholeheartedly but told him that I do not own a house in Ughelli, that the house he is referring to could be my father’s.

“I went on to sympathise with the Nigerian Army over the gruesome murder of the soldier, an action I had condemned severally the moment I heard of it in the news.

“I assured him that we would all work within our powers to avail the security agencies with any available information that would unravel the whole thing and bring the perpetrators to book. We ended the discussion on a cordial note.

“It was not long after that, I was inundated with calls from my home, Kiagbodo, telling me how the army had invaded my country home by land and by air; that they came in about 5 trucks loaded with armed soldiers numbering between 30 and 40. They used their legs to break open all the doors in the compound, including the security door to my sitting room, which was locked because I reside in Abuja. At the same time, flying their drone within the premises.

“Some of them went to the buildings behind the main house and also broke all the doors that were locked. They marched out my staff living in those buildings, including lecturers at the university and made them sit on bare ground.

“They also broke into my late brother, Ambassador Akporode Blessing Clark’s house, a man who served this country internationally in various capacities, including as Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; as both of us share the same premises.

“They brought out his son almost naked, as the young man was taking a bath when they stormed the house.

“All their phones were seized. The people had to identify themselves and tell them whose house it was before they asked for my telephone number, which they said they would pass to their ‘oga’ before they all departed.

“One would have expected that at this juncture, a call could have been put to the Governor of Delta State to inform him of what happened.

“I immediately called back the Commanding Officer to tell him of the actions of his men and he said he was aware, and that was why he called to apologise.

“Before continuing, let me play the devil’s advocate by stating that the army may not know that the house they went to in Kiagbodo is my country home.

“But I feel very uncomfortable to conclude this recent incident with such theory when I recall how men of the Tactical Squad of the Nigeria Police, attached to the Office of the Inspector General of Police, on 4th September 2018, at about 12 noon, stormed my house in Abuja with a bus load, fully armed.

“They came with a Search Warrant from a Magistrate Court in Abuja, bearing Mrs. Helen Clark, but with the address of my house on it, that they had come to search the house; that they had information that arms from the Niger Delta were being stockpiled there.

“Now, a few days ago, on Saturday, 23rd March 2024, another set of state actors, this time the Army, invaded my country home by land and air, breaking into my house that was securely locked. This has gone beyond coincidence and is giving me a source of concern.

“By God’s grace, I am one of the oldest men in this country today. On May 25, I will be 97 years old, God keeping me alive. In about seven decades of my life, I have served this nation meritoriously in different capacities. I have served in the same cabinet with persons who later became Heads of State and Presidents, both as military and civilian.

“As God would have it, many of them have passed on, and those of us still alive have continued to work assiduously to improve the socio-economic well-being of our countrymen.

“I make this introduction to let the present-day state actors know that most of them who are authorising disrespectful and unlawful conduct against me today were probably young men or may not even have been born when I was interacting with officers who are their superiors by far.

“I deserve to be respected, left to live in peace, safety and tranquillity. I have very high regard for the Nigerian Army.”

Recalling how his security details were withdrawn from him during the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, Clark declared: “I want to end this write-up to all concerned with what I told President Muhammadu Buhari when my security details were withdrawn that if I die today as a result of natural occurrence, it will be a joyful celebration. But if my death is linked to any dubious means by some overzealous state actors, no one can tell how far the fire will rage. This is not a threat. It is an acknowledgement of God’s mercy on me.”

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