Soldiers and security men attached to a pipeline surveillance team of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC) allegedly went on a rampage on Friday killing at least two people in Okobe community, Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State.
Sources within the community said that the security team also burnt down about three houses in the area during the operation in Okobe community, adding that over 10 people from the community were also arrested. It is unclear what prompted the attack, but oil companies and security agencies in the region had in the past accused communities of breaking oil pipelines and engaging in oil theft.
A legal luminary, Tuduru Ede, SAN, an indigene of the community while speaking to a local radio station in Port Harcourt on Saturday, condemned the development, urging Agip to call its surveillance team to order.
Ede regretted that the invasion and indiscriminate arrest of people in the community had affected economic and social activities in the area, noting that many persons had deserted the community.
“ I am calling on Nigeria Agip Oil Company to ensure that its security operatives and contractors do not go to Okobe to be harassing community indigenes. They should not go there to indiscriminately arrest anybody in the name of looking for people indulging in illegal oil bunkering.” He said
Neither the military authority nor NAOC officials have commented about the incident.
Revenge attacks on communities by soldiers are common in the Niger Delta region. NOHR has reported last week that soldiers invaded Bille, a community in the Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State, over the killing of some soldiers by suspected pirates.