FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA'S
INVASION OF ODI, BAYELSA STATE, IN NIGER DELTA
OF THE ARMED FORCES OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA.
10 NOVEMBER 1999
I have on a number of occasions in the recent past drawn your attention to the threat to law and order in your State. Instead of heeding my appeal, you have allowed the situation to degenerate to the point at which a number of soldiers, policemen and civilians from outside your State have been killed.
As the Chief Security Officer for your State, you have a primary responsibility to ensure that law and order are maintained in Bayelsa State. Recent events of kidnapping and subsequent wilful murder of seven policemen are clear demonstrations that you have lost grip of the security situation in the State.
You will recall that when you reported the dastardly act to me last Saturday, I immediately instructed that everything must be done to apprehend the perpetrators of this heinous crime. Your immediate reaction was that it would not be possible to arrest the culprits as the village had been deserted. I invited you to the National Security Council meeting on Monday, 8th November 1999, to enable you listen to the views of members, which should have given you some indication of the feeling of outrage and total condemnation of the incident by members of Council. In Council, you even tried to find lame reasons to justify the gruesome murder of those policemen who were carrying out their lawful duties. During Council deliberations, it was further reported that four soldiers had been kidnapped while four others had been decapitated. You assured members of Council that the perpetrators would definitely be arrested.
It is significant that after the National Security Council of 9th November 1999 had deliberated upon and condemned the killing of seven policemen in your State, you seemed to take no effective measure to arrest the culprits. Instead, reports have reached me that 3 other policemen and civilians have been killed. It is apparent from the foregoing that the security situation in your State is getting beyond your control. It seems to me that if those responsible for the maintenance of law and order are not safe in your State, there is little hope for the safety of private citizens.
These killings from reports reaching me were committed in broad daylight. It should be quite easy, therefore, to arrest the killers with whom it is reported that your government was holding negotiations before the killing of the policemen and those with whom your government had negotiated in the past. They are criminals.
I note with utter disgust and shock the reported incident of rape in your State by military personnel, which from investigation, is said to have been stage-managed and orchestrated to malign and discredit [THE MILITARY?] and I know that no soldier would be so beastly as to commit such a criminal act in the full glare of cameramen. Indeed, one of your colleagues has confirmed that the reported rape incident was a ruse.
I am appealing to you in the interest of security of our dear country in general and Bayelsa State in particular, to ensure that the perpetrators of those killings in Bayelsa State are immediately apprehended and brought to justice. The entire country is outraged by these gruesome murders. No one in his right senses can return to the State and appropriate environment re-established for its development.
I give you 14 (fourteen) days within which to restore law and order in your State and effect the arrest and prosecution of all those responsible for these killings, failing which I shall set in motion process to declare a state of emergency in Bayelsa State.
On my part, no stone will be left unturned to protect law-abiding
citizens everywhere in Nigeria.