Omoku Killings: How Not To Start The New Year

(By Iheanyi Ezinwo) -For the umpteenth time, Omoku, head quarters of Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers is in the news for the wrong reasons. Ironically, The strategic economic area which plays host to Total E&P and Nigeria Agip Oil Company, has been producing millions of barrels of crude oil for the sustenance of Nigeria’s economy for decades.
Unfortunately, unemployment and political desperation have allegedly conspired to undermine the peace and development of the area in the last five years or so, with economic activities largely crippled and most residents relocating to safer locations.
Interestingly, before the end of 2017, efforts appeared to have been made to arrest the situation, with Obuburu, one of the troubled communities in the area engaging in a wrestling competition during the yuletide to celebrate the return of peace in the area.
However, on the eve of 31 December 2017 into the early hours of January 1, 2018, unidentified gunmen stormed Omoku and other two locations in the Ogba/Egbema /Ndoni Local Government Area, leaving dead bodies at the end of their operations.
The bulk of those killed in Omoku were said to have been 15 innocent worshipers who were returning from midnight cross over service. An eye witness said he counted 18 dead bodies in Omoku, with two said to have been killed in two other locations. But there are indications that more lives might have been lost in the attack.
There were indications that the loud noise arising from fire works of the youths celebrating on the eve of the old year into the new year made it difficult for residents to understand that gun men were on rampage until the braking of the day when they saw lifeless bodies with bullet wounds.
As calm is said to have returned and the police commencing investigation, it is important that much more be seen to be done than said, to get to the root of the lingering security challenge in Omoku and its environs. The restiveness in Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA has been a source of concern to the security agencies in the state, prompting a security operation towards the end of the year but it appears much more needs to be done. This will, among other things, check possible reprisal attacks in the short run.
Our considered opinion is that, until the security operatives identify the source of the weapons used by the gun men and their sponsors, and ensure that they face justice, the crisis may continue, and this may have grave implications for the forthcoming 2019 general elections.

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