Indigenes of Okosigbene community, Burutu local government area of Delta State have decried being abandoned by the Nigerian government following it’s bombardment by the Nigerian military.
The people also called on the federal government to initiate plans of rebuilding the community, as well as grant scholarship and empowerment opportunities to help alleviate the harsh effects of the incident.
The above and more were stated at the commemoration of five years of survival after the ugly invasion of Okosigbene community by the Nigerian military.
It will be recalled that men of the Nigerian military bombarded the community in search of the defunct Niger Delta Avengers militant group on November 24, 2016.
The soldiers stormed the community in the early hours of that Thursday morning, razed the entire community, destroying properties worth hundreds of millions of Naira.
Some of the community leaders who spoke with Daily Report Nigeria lamented the grave injustice meted on the people by the government by way of first bombarding it, and abandoning it after the incident.
Woman leader of Okosigbene community, Deaconess Rose Egane said “we were a peaceful and law abiding people until the invasion by the military. The community was attacked by air, land and water.
“Our properties were destroyed and lots of person’s left injured,” she said.
Mrs. Rose said the soldiers claimed that the community played host to the Niger Delta Avengers, hence the reason for the attack.
Another elderly woman who witnessed the attack lamented that the oldest woman of the community who was brutalized by the military at the time, remain bedridden till date.
Comrade Ebimene Monday, youth leader of the community said various attempts have been made to get the attention of the government to come to the aide of the people but, to no avail.
“How we survived till this day is a miracle. The government has continued to pay deaf ears to our cries since the incident. We were left to fend for the injured and bury the dead.
“We’re suffering greatly. The government should please come to our aide to alleviate the harsh condition of our people,” he said.
In reiterating Comrade Ebimene’s thoughts, Mr Lucky Bedford called on the government “to provide scholarships for students, empowerment for women in the community.”
Also, Mr. Arerebo Wilson, Chairman of Okosigbene said the community had employed peaceful means of engagement with the federal government in times past without result.
“We are yet to recover from that incident. The federal government should do well to rebuild the community and also provide means of livelihood for the people,” he stressed.
On his part, Amb. Arerebo Yerinmene wondered if the people of Okosigbene are seen as citizens of Nigeria, pointing out that the ill treatment of the people cannot be quantified with words.
“We’re a peaceful people and have contributed greatly to the existing peace in this country. It is in the same vein of peace we’re calling on the government to do the needful by meeting the demands of the Okosigbene people,” he said.
The commemoration of five years of survival party was well attended by well-wishers of the community.