In a tragic incident, unidentified gunmen targeted a security team stationed at an oil spill site within the Bodo Community of Gokana Local Government Area in Rivers State. The site had witnessed an oil spill on the Trans-Niger pipeline a fortnight ago, causing tensions in the community.
The community, unsatisfied with the perceived lack of response from stakeholders, had engaged local youths to provide security at the spill site until a Joint Investigation Visit could be completed. However, in the early hours of Saturday, August 26, the security team fell victim to an attack by armed gunmen.
During the attack, two unarmed guards, identified as Wisdom Pilla and Barioma Dutu, tragically lost their lives. Five other youths, namely Charles Saago, Tombari Akere, Lekaga Agbi, Oliver Nyimaage, and Barinem Pigalo, sustained gunshot wounds while attempting to defend the site.
A coordinator of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) in Gokana LGA, Snr. Apostle Celestine Baribefe Viula, expressed dismay at the incident. Viula reported that the community had promptly informed the Police Divisional Headquarters in the area but received no immediate response or on-site investigation from the police.
The security team had been tasked with safeguarding the oil spill site until investigations into the spill’s cause were complete and pipeline repairs could begin. Fegalo Nsuke, leader of MOSOP, strongly condemned the violent attack, deeming it “barbaric.” Nsuke emphasized the need for a thorough police investigation and urged the community to seek justice for the victims.
As of press time, the Rivers State Police Command had not confirmed the incident, leaving the community and the families of the victims anxiously awaiting an official response. This tragic event underscores the ongoing tensions surrounding environmental issues and the pressing need for comprehensive security measures in such situations.