Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi
• Commences Investigation Into Killing Of Man By Personnel In Warri
• Video Clips Fake, Insists Delta Govt
The Defence Headquarters has faulted the criticisms that greeted the redeployment of the Theatre Commander of Operation Lafiya Dole (OPLD), Maiduguri, Major-General Olusegun Adeniyi.
Coordinator of the Defence Media Operations, Maj-Gen. John Enenche, yesterday in Abuja, said the speculation that Adeniyi was transferred, as a punishment for openly criticising the lack of fighting weapons in the hands of Nigerian soldiers fighting Boko Haram terrorists in the Northeast, was unacceptable.
Recall that a former minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, had alleged that Adeniyi was relieved of his post because he asked for better welfare, weapons and conditions for troops fighting the insurgents.
Adeniyi was replaced by Maj-Gen. F. Yahaya from Headquarters, 1 Division of the Nigeria Army in Kaduna as the new Commander, a development many believed might not be unconnected to a viral video, where he was pleading with the government and the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to provide weapons for the soldiers in the war-front to do their jobs.
But Enenche dismissed such claims, stressing that Adeniyi was redeployed as part of its routine aimed at ensuring a better prosecution of the anti-terrorism war.
He explained that Adeniyi had spent over a year as Commander of OPLD and was due for redeployment.
Speaking further, Enenche said the military has commenced investigation into the killing of a young man identified as Joseph Pessu in Warri, by an Army personnel deployed to enforce the stay-at-home order by the Delta State government.
Pessu was shot dead around 10:30am last Thursday at Ada Val Arenyenka Street in Ugwangwe area of the oil city over a yet-to-be- known offence.
This is just as the state government has distanced itself from the video clips purportedly on Warri residents defying its stay-at-home order over the Coronavirus pandemic and confronting security operatives, saying it was concocted and therefore, fake.
Commissioner for Information, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, in a statement yesterday in Asaba, while urging residents to discountenance the “fake” video, which he described as the handwork of mischief-makers, said the clips were not a true representation of happenings in Warri or any part of the state in the last 48 hours.
“The videos in circulation are figments of the imagination of a few disgruntled elements bent at pitching the people against the state government.
“The purported video of two military personnel threatening the residents of Warri was an arrangement of those who didn’t want peace in the state. So, the video was not a true representation of Nigerian military officers who know the implication of threatening citizens with such an illicit video,” he stated.
Aniagwu further called on the public, especially Deltans, to disregard the video, as it was the machination of those bent at causing disaffection between Deltans and military authorities, adding that the military high command, whose responsibility it was to deploy personnel, had debunked the video material.
“As a government, we will continue to appeal to the security agencies to apply rules of engagement, as practised in most democracies, as they carry out their lawful duties,” he added, even as Governor Ifeanyi Okowa also asked Army authorities to ensure they get to the root of the extra-judicial killing.
Meanwhile, a senior Army officer alleged that the unfortunate incident was a case of suspected armed bandits who beat the Police and vigilante roadblocks with a vehicle without plate numbers.
According to the officer: “On Tuesday, April 2, at about 8am, own troops deployed at Ubeji Guard Location were alerted of a suspected armed robber and car snatcher in a black-coloured Toyota Camry car without plate number by unarmed policeman and community vigilante, who had established a checkpoint close to own troops guard location.
“The soldiers were called when the suspect allegedly broke through the Police checkpoint and refused to stop for search.
“Accordingly, military troops who were on sentry at the time of the incident, on sighting the suspect, immediately responded and aimed at the vehicle tyres in a bit to force the suspect to stop.
“However, the suspect refused to stop, broke through the barricades and kept on driving until he got to Ugwangwe community, where he abandoned the vehicle and attempted to escape.
“During the pursuit, one of the soldiers attached to Operation Delta Safe (OPDS) fired a shot at the suspect in an attempt to incapacitate him in order not to allow the suspect escape, which led to the death of the suspect in the process and resulted to unrest in the community,” he added.
He further said: “Consequently, the Commanding Officer, 3 Battalion (Rear), in company of the Area Commander, Warri, visited the scene and have calmed down the situation.
“Moreso, the accused soldier has been arrested and is presently in own custody and the Military Police (MP) have been directed to thoroughly investigate the incident. The outcome of the investigation will be made known to the general public after their preliminary findings.
“Headquarters of 63 Brigade wishes to use this medium to urge residents of Warri and environs to go about their legitimate businesses, as own troops will continue to discharge their responsibilities of protecting lives and property.”