• warns of rage if he dies ‘dubious’ death

From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja


Elder statesman Edwin Clark, a prominent figure, in the Niger Delta has shared a troubling account of the recent Army raid on his country home in Ughelli, Delta State.

The military operation, conducted in search of suspects linked to the killing of army personnel, killings in Okuama community led to a subsequent apology from the Army.

Speaking at a press conference in Abuja, Clark revealed that the military had initially entered his home without realizing it was his residence, prompting them to contact him post the search.

Expressing his acceptance of the apology, Clark emphasised his dedication to aiding in the investigation of the Okuama community killings.

Despite his cooperation, he highlighted past instances of security personnel searching his properties, including a similar incident at his Abuja residence in 2018.

Clark cautioned against any harm befalling him, underscoring the potential repercussions such actions could provoke.

Detailing the events of the raid, Clark recounted the Army’s intrusion into his Ughelli home, involving a significant deployment of armed soldiers who forcibly entered the premises.

He said the invasion extended to his late brother’s residence on the same compound, where individuals were detained and questioned before the situation was clarified.

Reflecting on previous encounters with security forces, he highlighted a prior police search at his Abuja residence, raising concerns about the recurring nature of such incidents.

He stressed the need for respect and peaceful coexistence, citing his extensive service to the nation over several decades.

Making reference to his age and contributions to the country, Clark emphasised the importance of being treated with dignity and ensuring his safety and well-being.

Narrating the incident, he said: “At about 6pm on Saturday, 23rd March, 2024, I got a telephone call from someone who identified himself as the commanding officer Nigerian Army, Division in Port Harcourt. He said that a tracker of the Nigerian Army, had tracked one Mr. Vote, the community chairman of Okuoma Community, whom the Army was looking for in respect of the killings of the 17 men of the Nigerian Army, to a house in Ughelli; and that the military men had broken into the house, ransacked it, before they were informed that the house belongs to me, that he was very sorry and apologising to me on behalf of the Army.

“In my usual way and as a leader who is expected to condone as much as possible, I accepted his apology whole heartedly, but told him that I do not own a house in Ughelli, that the house he is referring to, could be my father’s.

“I went on to sympathise with the Nigerian Army over the gruesome murder of the soldier, an action I had condemned severally the moment I heard of it in the news.

“I assured him that we will all work within our powers to avail the security agencies with any available information that would unravel the whole thing and bring the perpetrators to book. We ended the discussion on a cordial note.

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“It was not long after that, I was inundated with calls from my home, Kiagbodo, telling me how the army had invaded my country home by land and by air. That they came in about 5 trucks loaded with armed soldiers numbering between 30 and 40. They used their legs to break open all the doors in the compound including the security door to my sitting room which was locked because I reside in Abuja. At the same time, flying their drone within the premises.

“Some of them went to the buildings behind the main house, and also broke all the doors that were locked. They marched out my staff living in those buildings, including lecturers at the university; made them to sit on bare ground.

“They also broke into my late brother, Ambassador Akporode Blessing Clark’s house; a man who served this country internationally in various capacities, including as Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs; as both of us share the same premises.

“They brought out his son almost naked, as the young man was taking a bath, when they stormed the house. All their phones were seized. The people had to identify themselves, and told them whose house it was, before they asked for my telephone number, which they said they will pass to their ‘oga,’before they all departed.

“One would have expected that at this juncture, a call could have been put to the Governor of Delta State, to inform him of what happened.I immediately called back the commanding officer to tell him of the actions of his men. And he said he was aware, and that was why he called to apologise.

“Before continuing, let me play the devil’s advocate by stating that the army may not know that the house they went to in Kiagbodo is my country home.”

Clark added: “But I feel very uncomfortable to conclude this recent incident with such theory, when I recall how men of the Tactical Squad of the Nigeria Police, attached to the Office of the Inspector General of Police, on 4th September, 2018, at about 12 noon, stormed my house in Abuja with in a bus load, fully armed.

“They came with a Search Warrant from a Magistrate Court in Abuja, bearing Mrs. Helen Clark, but with the address of my house on it, that they had come to search the house; that they had information that arms from the Niger Delta were being stock piled there.”

Clark said he was never given the report of the search up till now, saying: “Now, few days ago, on Saturday 23rd March, 2024, another set of state actors, this time the Army, invaded my country home, by land and air, breaking into my house that was securely locked.

“This has gone beyond coincidence and is giving me a source of concern.

“By God’s grace I am one of the oldest men in this country today. On May 25, I will be 97 years, God keeping me alive. In about seven decades of my life, I have served this nation meritoriously in different capacities. I have served in the same cabinet with persons who later became Heads of State and Presidents, both as military and civilian.

“As God would have it, many of them have passed on, those of us still alive, have continued to work assiduously to improve the socio-economic well-being of our country men.

“I make this introduction to let the present-day state actors that most of them who are authorizing disrespectful and unlawful conducts against me today, were probably young men or may not even have been born, when I was interacting with officers who are their superiors by far.”

“I deserve to be respected, left to live in peace, safety and tranquility. I have very high regard for the Nigerian Army,” he stated.

Recalling how his security details were withdrawn from him during the President Muhammadu Buhari administration, Clark declared: “I want to end this write up to all concerned with what I told President Muhammadu Buhari, when my security details were withdrawn that if I die today as a result of natural occurrence, it will be a joyful celebration. But if my death is linked to any dubious means by some overzealous state actors, no one can tell how far the fire will rage. This is not a threat. It is an acknowledgment of God’s mercies on me.”