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‘How my husband was killed by soldiers’

Endurance and Stephen Ogedegbe  in Benin...yesterday

Endurance and Stephen Ogedegbe in Benin…yesterday

IT was an emotional narration by Mrs. Endurance Ogedegbe on how soldiers believed to be attached to the 19 Battalion of the Nigerian Army, Koko in Delta State, shot and killed her husband, Benson Ogedegbe who was chairman, Oghara Vigilante Group.

She said trouble started for her husband when suspected armed robbers terrorising the community were allegedly caught with two guns and allegedly handed over to soldiers.

She was accompanied by family members and friends who brought their protest to Benin City. They said that their planned protest in Oghara on Tuesday was forcefully dispersed by soldiers and they decided to come and protest in Benin City.

She said before her husband’s death, her son Stephen was arrested by the army and taken to Koko where he was detained for eight days and later transferred to Asaba Police Command claiming that one 18-year-old boy confessed against the late Ogedengbe and his son.

She said on the day of the shooting, June 23, 2015: “My husband was the games master of his school and he told me he was going to the school to sign and I decided to go and see my children staying in my mother’s place. I was on my bike when I saw an army van trailing my husband’s vehicle and I quickly took my bike after them. They drove through the whole of Oghara and got to a point where my husband stopped, came down from the car and held up his hand but when the soldiers came down, they said “the CO wants you dead.”

“I appealed to them that they should spare his life, but they shot my husband immediately and ordered the boys moulding block in the area to put his body in their Hilux van. Immediately, I entered another bike and abandoned mine and followed them to the police station and then to the Teaching Hospital where they called doctors to take care of my husband and as soon as he was pronounced dead, the soldiers ran away.”

“I want the federal government to ask the soldiers what my husband did that he was killed. Yesterday, I said let us protest so that government will hear us and help us fight for justice and everything we wanted to use, banners and others, this Captain on his own with five Hilux vans stopped us and threatened that nobody should come out. They arrested four of us and beat us, as I am talking to you, one of them is still in the hospital. He said my husband was not giving him peace in Oghara. I want justice from the government.”

But when contacted through a text message, the Public Relations Officer 4 Mechanised Brigade of the Nigerian Army, Benin City Capt Umuakhalu JE said, “investigation is ongoing into the allegation and our findings will surely be made known. Both the Army and police are conducting independent investigation into all allegations. NA (Nigerian Army) did not torture any protester but dispossessed them of dangerous substances such as kerosene and petrol which they were going to use for the protest.”

Stephen, the first son of the late Ogedegbe, corroborated his mother’s account, saying that before his father’s death, he was arrested and taken to the military base where he was regularly tortured under the supervision of a Lt. Colonel who he said claimed that he would kill his father.

On their parts, the Ovie of Oghara, HRM Ogharanamen Orefe III and the Oghara Centre for Justice and Development have called on President Muhammadu Buhari and all concerned authorities to investigate the alleged killing of Ogedegbe.

The Ovie in a press statement personally signed by him and made available to journalists in Benin City, further called on President Buhari to take decisive action in the fight against impunity of all sorts in order to engender the much needed change in the country.

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3 Comments
  • marc umeh

    You don’t call on the President to take action in this type of case . He has a lot on his table as it is. You start by hiring a good lawyer and instituting a multi- billion naira law-suit against the murderers and the Nigerian army. You involve human right organisation and other parties that may have sympathy for your cause eg the NBA. And turn up the decibel with members of your community.
    The army should not be a terrorist organisation violating citizens right with impunity. The military should be part of the solution not the problem.

    • grateful mortal

      It’s a serious case about extrajudicial killings and war crimes against humanity which the army is yet to answer to the US and Amnesty international. So president Bujari should suspend his table and deal with this case immediately

      • Robert Etemiku

        I agree with you Mortal. These soldiers are operating on the pedestal of impunity, as if we are still in the days of the military, and when one of their own is in power. We must not allow them to kill people like goats and rats. And my dear Mach Umeh, if you would arrange to pay the fees of the lawyer as part of your contribution to this case, it would be appreciated. Cases like this must be dealt with by Mr. President, who is commander-in-chief and chief security officer. Involving a lawyer at this stage means that it would take years to get to the root of the matter. Let Mr. President act and act decisively against impunity.

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