HomeNewsElder Statesman Clark Denounces Military Raid on His Residence

Elder Statesman Clark Denounces Military Raid on His Residence

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Prominent Niger Delta leader Chief Edwin Clark has vehemently denied harboring weapons at his residence in Delta State, following a controversial raid by the Nigerian military on March 23, 2024. Clark, a respected figure in the region, has called for calm while urging a thorough investigation into the recent killing of Nigerian soldiers in the Niger Delta.

According to Clark’s account, a large contingent of soldiers, arriving in five trucks and deploying a drone, stormed his Kiagbodo country home. The soldiers, acting on what Clark believes to be faulty intelligence, forced entry into his residence and surrounding buildings. The raid also encompassed the home of Clark’s late brother, a retired diplomat.

Leader Advocates for Cooperation

While condemning the raid as a violation of his privacy, Clark emphasized his willingness to cooperate with authorities in finding those responsible for the killing of 16 Nigerian soldiers in Ughelli South, Delta State. He called for a commission of inquiry to be established to ensure a transparent and impartial investigation.

Clark revealed that a military commander in Port Harcourt had contacted him to apologize for the raid. The commander explained that the soldiers were misled by intelligence suggesting the presence of a community leader linked to the soldier killings at Clark’s residence. However, Clark refuted this claim and questioned the tactics employed by the military.

Clark further drew attention to a strikingly similar incident that occurred in 2018. On that occasion, his Abuja residence was raided by police searching for an alleged weapons cache linked to Niger Delta militants. Much like the recent military raid, the 2018 search yielded nothing.

Concerns Over Security Methods and Regional Tensions

These back-to-back raids raise serious concerns about the methods employed by Nigerian security forces in the Niger Delta. Critics argue that such heavy-handed tactics not only fail to achieve their objectives but also exacerbate tensions in the region.

The Niger Delta, a historically restive region rich in oil resources, has long grappled with issues of environmental degradation, economic marginalization, and communal violence. Clark, a vocal advocate for the region, has consistently called for greater autonomy and development for the Niger Delta.

The military maintains it acted on credible intelligence in conducting the raid. However, the lack of concrete evidence and the targeting of a respected leader like Clark raise questions about the accuracy of that intelligence.

Moving forward, a commitment to dialogue and transparency is crucial for both the military and Niger Delta leaders. A thorough investigation into the soldier killings, coupled with a review of military search procedures, would be a positive step. Additionally, fostering open communication between the government and regional leaders can help address underlying grievances and promote lasting peace in the Niger Delta.

Source: Vanguard

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