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30.06.2022 Featured Soldiers Avenging Colleague’s Murder Burn 70-Year-Old Man With His House in Cross River

Published 30th Jun, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

Kommy Offem, a public servant, has narrated how officers of the Nigerian Army burnt Cletus Ofem, her 70-year-old father, to death in his house in Nko, Yakurr Local Government Area of Cross River State.

Offem told FIJ that the soldiers stormed her father’s house at about 7 pm on Sunday, took the doors off their hinges and set the house ablaze with him inside.

She said there had been rumours that the soldiers would storm the village for reprisal attacks, but her father waved the thought off.

“When my parents knew the soldiers were coming, they packed some clothes to use in the coming days if they ran. Later, a chief advised them not to run away but lock themselves inside the house, which they did,” Offem told FIJ.

“Moments later, the soldiers started destroying people’s property, and my mother saw it first-hand. She told my father to leave, but he decided to stay back and lock himself in the house.”

READ ALSO: Nigerian Soldiers Now Work for Terrorists, Says Lucky Irabor

Offem stated that her mother had to run for her life while her father, who had arthritis, stayed back in the house.

She said the soldiers broke through the windows and doors of the house but did not see anyone since her father had locked himself in his room before setting the building on fire.

“When they did not see anyone in the house, they set it on fire,” Offem said.

She stated that her mother was still running for her life when she saw a heap of smoke.

“She did not know the flame was from her house until it became so big that people were shouting,” she said.

“But as the soldiers left the immediate area and moved to another area, my mother came out only to realise that the burning house was her house.”

She said due to the circumstances surrounding his death, her her father was to be buried immediately, according to some traditional rites.

READ ALSO: Soldiers Shave Residents’ Heads, Flog Traders in Rivers Community

However, the soldiers prevented his burial from taking place until Wednesday, she said. The traditional rites were to be carried out by men alone, but the soldiers did not allow anyone to enter the house until Wednesday evening.

“Now, we have buried him. But apart from a generator, there was nothing left in the house and store. Whether they were burnt or stolen, no one knows,” she said.

Offem said that the soldiers were in her community to avenge the death of one of their comrades killed by the youths.

According to her, the Federal Government sent the soldiers to manage the age-old land crisis existing between her community and Onyadama community, but the Nko youths allegedly killed one of them.

“I heard that youths from my village allegedly shot a soldier. This is why they have been going about doing reprisal attacks,” she said.

READ ALSO: Soldiers, FRSC Officials Among 65 Killed by Gunmen in One Week

FIJ learned that as of now, soldiers have killed at least 10 people and displaced several others in Nko community.

FIJ contacted Tope Aluko, the army spokesperson for Cross River, but she directed our reporter to a video clip of Lucky Irabor, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff , on the issue.

In an Arise TV programme held on Wednesday, Irabor said the soldiers did not destroy people’s property but tried to apprehend the youths who shot a commander of the army.

FIJ also called Onyema Nwachukwu, Nigerian Army’s spokesperson, but he did not answer them. He had also not replied to a text sent to him at press time.

Published 30th Jun, 2022

By Emmanuel Uti

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