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Invasion of Pa Edwin Clark’s home by soldiers provocative – Ijaw Youth Council

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Invasion of Pa Edwin Clark's home by soldiers provocative - Ijaw Youth Council

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has described the invasion of  the country home of elder statesman and former federal commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, by soldiers as provocative.

Clark, leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and leader of the Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) had disclosed that soldiers raided his country home in Kiagbodo, Delta State by land and air in search of arms.

The soldiers, he said, stormed his home on Saturday, 23rd March, 2024 where they came in about 5 trucks loaded with armed soldiers numbering between 30 and 40 and used their legs to break open all the doors in the compound including the security door to his sitting room which was locked because he resides in Abuja.

Addressing Journalists on Tuesday at his Asokoro Residence, Abuja, Clark said the soldiers also flew ftheir drone within the premises, just as some of them went to the buildings behind the main house and broke all the doors that were locked, adding that the Soldiers matched out his staff living in those buildings, including lecturers at the University as they were made to sit on bare ground.

Clark said that the Soldiers also broke into the house of his late brother, Ambassador Akporode Blessing Clark, a man he said had served this country internationally in various capacities, including as Nigeria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding that they both share the same premises and they brought out his son almost naked, as the young man was taking a bath, when they stormed the house.

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.

“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 in my house, 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 matched 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. 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. I identified myself, and told that there was no one named Helen Clark, living with me in the house. I spoke with the then Deputy Inspector General of Police, Operations. But they insisted on carrying out their search. With a very clear conscience, I allowed them to go ahead with their mission. They took their time to search every space in the compound, including my bedroom, but found nothing incriminating.”

Invasion provocative – IYC

Reacting to the development during an appearance on Arise TV on Wednesday, Jonathan Lopkobiri, Ijaw Youth Council President, described the invasion of the home of the elder statesman as provocative, noting that evidence suggests some kind of targeting by the authorities.

“It is provocative; it’s like a targeted onslaught against Ijaw people using Okuama incident,” he said.

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“There’s no evidence that those who carried out the attack in Okuama had anything to do with the home of Pa Clark. It’s a long distance between Ughelli and Kiagbodo, the country home of Pa Clark.

“Yet, his home was invaded and almost all the surrounding buildings broken and people there held hostage.

“They treated the people there with disdain. It is becoming clear to us that there’s more to this than meets the eye. Perhaps Pa Clark is just a start. We will not be surprised if they start going after other Ijaw leaders to destroy their homes.

“If a man of 97 who has continued to provide leadership to the Niger Delta can be targeted for a crime he has also spoken against, it begs the question whether they want to govern Nigeria by fear. It’s unacceptable.”

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