• Ekogbene issues a 7-day ultimatum to Sterling Global to address dispute
• Gives 5-point condition for peace
• Says invasion was unlawful, unprofessional
No fewer than four suspected school pupils, 85years old woman and two other aged men were brutally injured during the military invasion of Ekogbene Community, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
Congress reports that suspected military numbering two gun boats allegedly stormed the community on 13th Sept, 2021 and shot intermittently for about an hour before departing.
The attack was reportedly carried out by soldiers attached to Sterling Global Oil Exploration Company Limited without provocation.
The Community chairman, Chief Moses Oruebi who spoke to Congress Community Focus correspondent, said the military invaded the Community when the community executive committee members visited the company’s barge, ‘Yade’ to remind them of an agreement to repair the community’s concrete jetty damaged by the company’s barge, Yade 15, sometime March 2021.
He narrated that the officials of the company gave wrong signal to the military patrol attached to the company barge and they came shooting sporadically without trying to find out the position of things.
The shooting sent wrong signal to the sleeping residents of the community and made them to scamper for safety.
The incident paralysed commercial activities in the community as residents took cover in the forest for several hours after the military had left the community.
It was learnt that about 10 children and 3 old people who were declared missing were later found.
The four wounded school pupils and the three old people were among some of the missing persons found from the forest after a serious search efforts by the community.
The victims are responding to treatment in the community government hospital.
The school pupils since the incident have stopped schooling.
The angry community has issued a 7-day ultimatum to the Sterling Global and military authorities to address the plight of the community to avoid break down of law and order in the area.
In a letter addressed to the Sterling company entitled: “Military Raid In Ekogbene Community And Injuring of 4 Children, 3 old people.
Demand For Immediate Intervention” narrated that the military was unprofessional in the recent attack on the community.
The letter dated 20th Sept reads:”We write with pains and agony over the unlawful military raid and wounding of innocent children, an aged men and women in our community on the Monday 13th Sept, 2021.
“We are peace loving people and have no history of violence in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State.
“It is sad that the military attacked us unlawfully without any provocation. This is unprofessional and unlawful.
“We only demanded a repair of our landing concrete jet being damaged by Sterling Global Oil Exploration Company Limited on March 2021. We do not think that should be a ground to invade our community and shoot intermittently.
“On 13th September, 2021, morning our community executive approached the Sterling Company barge, ‘Yade’ officials to remind them of the long delay in repairing our damaged jetty.
“But the Sterling officials gave wrong signal to the supporting gun boats on patrol and about two of the gun boats were immediately deployed to come and raid our community.
“The soldiers came and long-sided in our community waterfront and began to shoot sporadically, causing serious pandemonium in the community”, they explained.
However, they have given five-point demands as condition for peace in the area.
“Among the demands are; A quick repair of the damaged concrete jetty, prosecution of the military officers who unlawful invaded their community, treatment and compensation of victims of the military raid, no movement of Sterling barge or any other facilities in the community waterways pending a total resolution of the dispute and signing of fresh GMoU between Ekogbene/Egrangbene federated Communities and Sterling company travel route be implemented”.
The community in its letter copied and equally called on the foremost ex-agitator High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias, Tompolo, the Commissioner Of Police, Delta State, the Special Assistant to the governor of Delta state on political matters, Comrade Ozobo Austin, the National coordinator, Ijaw monitoring group, Comrade Joseph Evah, the Military Joint Task Force, JTF, Bayelsa State to quickly prevail to restore peace in the area.
However, effort to reach the company’s Community and security manager, Mr Sandeep Singh was not successful as he couldn’t respond to his calls.The company’s
Agge Base Manager, Mr Perababu could not properly respond due to network breakup. While the Company’s CSO, Captain Adeleyi said someone from the community called him and complained about the issue but the military escort denied shooting at the community. But he insisted that the community should send a photo evidence of the injured persons to them at Agge Base of the company.
When contacted, the Delta State Police Command’s PPRO, DSP Bright Edafe, said the police is yet to be properly informed about the incident and number of persons wounded in the alleged military shooting.