OKOROETE—CONTRARY to the suggestion that the killing of two police officers (Inspector and Corporal) and invasion of Okoroete Police Station at Eastern Obolo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State, last week, was a reprisal by embattled Ikot Akpan Udo community villagers, investigation has showed that alleged incessant seizure of outboard engines by the Police triggered the vicious attack.
Niger Delta Voice learned that youth from Andoni, Ijaw in Rivers and Bayelsa states, angry that the police action was to stifle economic activities in the area, which is marine-centered, stormed the police station and caused havoc.
Okoroete community leader, Elder Frank Nte, told Niger Delta Voice, “The attack on the Okorete Police Station was carried out behind us and we could not immediately ascertain what triggered it. But from our findings, I discovered that it was provoked by the police regular seizure of their outboard engines thereby not allowing them to operate their businesses freely on the suspicion that the boats were used in carrying out illegal marine activities.
“I think the youths who are mostly our Andoni and Ijaw brothers from Rivers and Bayelsa States over-reacted because it is not the best thing to have attacked the police station and kill the innocent police officers”. He, however, said the police would have apprehended perpetrators of the heinous crime if they had taken the community in confidence. His words:
“Our youths would have gone after those people but just as they were ready to move, they saw SARS patrol team, so, they repatriated so that the police would not arrest them thinking they were the ones who attacked the police station and killed the two officers
.” Speaking with the NDV on the matter, the Akwa-Ibom State Police Public Relations Officer PPRO, ASP, Delia Nwawe, said, “we are carrying out very massive investigation into that incident. So far, one of the suspects is in our custody. I am not going to tell you the suspect’s name so as not to jeopardize investigations.
It might help others who perpetrated the crime to have knowledge of what we are doing. “Ultimately, what we are interested in is justice. If we cannot get 100 percent clue or information into the matter, at least, we should be able to get 95 percent and then, make sure, peace reigns in that place.
“When investigations are concluded, the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Murtala Mani should be able to tell you very clearly why the hoodlums did what they did, but of course, whatever malice anybody had, because it was malicious, it was instigated, we are not going to stay back and at the appropriate time, the Police Commissioner will speak. Confirming the killing of two police officers, the PPRO asserted:
“We are committed 100 percent to our jobs. We have to ensure that we safeguard the people in that community at all times. Therefore, the police station is fully functional to provide security.
“Our Anti-kidnapping team is there, so also the Anti-Robbery squad. Patrol is on 24 hours in all the jurisdictions to be able to keep the tide of peace and safety in that area. “It must be stated very clearly that the Commissioner of Police, Mr. Murtala Mani will not allow people irrespective of their positions to carry out illegal activities in that community.
Police make seizure when the activities of the people are illegal and may sabotage the nation’s economy. “If that is why they decided to attack us, we have no regrets because we are committed to doing our job to ensure the safety of lives and property of the citizens.”