Bayelsa

Residents flee community as security collapses

Police already notified about threats to royal fathers – King Dakolo, Agada IV 

By Emem Idio

YENAGOA – CRUDE  oil gangsters who abducted and killed the Paramount Ruler and Community Development Committee, CDC, Chairman of oil-rich Kalaba community, Yenagoa Local Government Area, Bayelsa State, last week, for opposing their illegal oil bunkering in the area, have sworn to deal with other royal fathers standing on their way.

Scores of residents feeling insecure after oil thieves impudently seized the monarch and CDC chair from their homes and slaughtered them, have started fleeing the town.

NDV learnt that oil thieves had, before the gruesome murder of Kolibo and Oburo, scared traditional rulers who are against their criminal activities in several other communities.

Police alerted on threats to monarchs, subjects – King Dakolo

Chairman of the Bayelsa State Traditional Rulers Council and the Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama kingdom, Agada IV, King Bubaraye Dakolo, who confirmed the threat to royal fathers in the state, described the butchery of Kolibo and Oburo as disastrous.

Dakolo, whose kingdom is also rich in oil and gas and host to multinationals said: “The incident is most unfortunate, I heard it over the news.

 “Police are investigating the motive of the crime and who the criminals are. The police have been informed of threats to the lives of other traditional rulers and their subjects in other parts of the state,” he said.

  Asked if council had alerted the state government, King Dakolo asserted: “The state government is usually the first to hear of incidents like this. They do not need the Traditional Rulers’ Council to inform them before they become aware.”

 Villagers take flight

Meanwhile, the once bubbling agrarian enclave whose residents are predominantly farmers and anglers is now a shadow of itself as many of the locals have deserted their homes due to the heightened tension in the land.

Bullying fruitless 

Though there is a lingering chieftaincy and leadership dispute in the community, impeccable sources within the community said crude oil thieves in the area slaughtered the monarch and CDC chair because they opposed their plan to set up oil bunkering camp in the area.

NDV learnt that a popular crude oil bunkering merchant, who hails from the community and commands high youth followership, allegedly mobilised his group to set up an illegal operation of crude oil bunkering camp in the undergrowth bordering Kalaba and Ikarama communities, early this year.

The gang made several advances to secure the blessings of the leadership of the community but the deceased monarch and CDC chairman fiercely resisted them on grounds that disrupting production activities of Nigerian Agip Oil Company, NAOC, in the area would hinder the development of the community. When their initial plan did not work, the merchant and his gang resorted to vandalising oil pipelines in the area in order to secure a surveillance contract from NAOC, which they supposedly secured afterwards.

Plot   

Apparently, it was when the deceased monarch and CDC chairman exposed the gang of crude oil thieves and took over the surveillance contract that the hooligans resolved to kill them.

A reliable source within the community told NDV: “When that happened, the gang started planning to kill our monarch and CDC chairman. In the process, a woman overheard them plotting the murder and gave them (the deceased persons) the information, but they laughed it off and did nothing about it.

“So, on Monday, June 20, the community woke up to the story that our paramount ruler has been kidnapped by some gunmen at about 3:00m from his house. We were all shocked and confused about what may have led to his abduction.

“That same day, the CDC chairman travelled to Yenagoa, the state capital, to officially report the incident to the police. While he was there, information came to some members of the community that the gang saw the CDC chairman in Yenagoa while he was reporting the incident to police and positioned some gunmen to lay ambush at his house.

Deaf ears

“When he drove into town, he was informed about the plot and advised not to enter the community but he refused. He said no harm will come to him. As he drove into the community, a popular pastor also stopped him along the road and pleaded with him to take a back road that would lead him out of the community.

“Oburo still refused to take the advice. Just as the gang had planned, the moment he got to his house at about 7:00pm, some men armed with guns and machetes came out from their hiding and dragged him to his backyard where they murdered him.

“It was after the callous murder of the CDC chairman, the killer-gang daringly sent a message to the community that the monarch had been gruesomely eliminated and gave them direction to where they would recover his corpse,” the source added.

Police arrest some suspects

Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO, Bayelsa State Police Command, Asinim Butswat, said the dead body of the monarch was found at Ikarama community and police have “launched investigation into the matter.”

  It was, however, gathered that police have arrested some persons in the troubled community in connection with the murder of the paramount ruler and the CDC chairman. 

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