Operation Crocodile Smile: Delta community cries out over arrest of septuagenarian, 3 others

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By Egufe Yafugborhi & Akpokona Omafuaire

WARRI—The people of Akperhe Olomu community, Ughelli South Local Government Area, Delta State, have accused troops of the new military task force, Operation Crocodile Smile, of violating the fundamental rights of Mrs. Amrevweatefa Odada, a septuagenarian and three others in custody at the 3 Battalion, Effurun Barracks in Uvwie Local Government Area of the state.

SeptugenarianSeptugenarianIt will be recalled that the Director, Army Public Relations, Col. Sani Usman, had said in a statement that the quartet arrested in the morning of August 31, were being questioned over a wanted relative, Gabriel Ogbudje.

Sunday Okoyoyo, spokesman for Akperhe, told Vanguard yesterday: “This is impunity and lawlessness. How lawful is it for Army to arrest and detain a septuagenarian mother of a wanted person? How lawful is it to arrest his extended relatives, handcuff and parade them as suspects?

“Even after arresting them, why keep them there indefinitely? We demand her immediate release and the three others arrested with her. Their continued detention is unlawful and a violation of their human rights.”

Widows’ lament

Lamenting the situation, Koko Patani, mother of Henry, one of those arrested along with Madam Odada, said: “My son is not a militant; he stays with me. He only goes to his father house to sleep at night. My son is innocent and I want him released.

“It is so sad because I am a widow and don’t even know where and how to go about seeking his release. I don’t know who to help me. They should bring back my son.”

Onesan Ekeke, mother of Vincent, said: “My son stays far away in Auchi, Edo State. He came to the village on Friday for a burial. He was supposed to travel back with his boss that Wednesday, but was arrested.

“Someone told me he was arrested by soldiers. My son is neither a criminal nor a militant. I am a widow, I have no one to help me; this oppression is too much for me. The soldiers should go and find the real criminals.”

Oyivwaro George, Henry’s uncle, said: “This is oppression. This boy has been in this village, suffering, since the death of his father. It is wicked to just wake him up and arrest him for doing nothing.”

Johnbull Oghogho, younger brother of Mrs Odada, said: “We got the news of my sister’s arrest as a rude shock. My sister is not healthy; she has an eye problem. If anything should happen to her, we will take it up with the authorities.”

Others arrested along the septuagenarian at Akperhe at about 3a.m. last Wednesday include Vincent Ekeke, Henry Koko, Rachael Abbah.

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