From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Former acting governor of Ekiti State, Rt. Hon. Tunji Odeyemii, has condemned in strong terms the killings of 16 officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army 181 Amphibious Battalion in Delta State, describing the act as cruel and barbaric .
Odeyemii, who said the soldiers died in active service, appealed to the federal government and the Nigerian Army to honour them and  provide support for their families.
Odeyemi, in a statement he personally signed and provided to newsmen in Ado-Ekiti, capital of Ekiti State, said the act was not only despicable but cowardly and unpatriotic.
He said : ” Men of the Nigerian Army had been putting their lives on the line to protect Nigeria and her territorial integrity since the outbreak of insurgency and insurrection, hence did not deserve this kind of cruelty.
“Criminal elements in Okuama community of Delta State attacked and killed 16 officers and soldiers of the Nigerian Army 181 Amphibious Battalion comprising a lieutenant colonel, two majors, one captain and 12 soldiers. The troops were killed while on a peace mission in the community on Thursday, 14th March, 2024.
” I received the news of the brutal killings of 16 men and  officers of the Nigerian Army with rude shock. This despicable act must be condemned by all right thinking Nigerians. No doubt, the few criminal elements in our society are looking for opportunities to discourage or create fear in the minds of  our security personnel so that the evils can flourish. We must not allow this .”
He added, ” these people abandoned their families for months so that we can be among our loved ones. It is indeed high time communities rallied round our security personnel, most especially those in the first line of defense .We must not allow evils to flourish in our society. Our security men deserve the  supports and cooperation from Nigerians and we cannot afford to expose them to further risk from within.
” Let the community fish out the criminal elements who carried out this dastardly act and hand them over to security agencies in order to protect its good name and image.

“Finally, I want to appeal to the federal government and Nigerian Army to devise a way of honouring the slain soldiers  and support the families they left behind.”

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