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The 1999 army invasion of Odi in Bayelsa State was a success and stopped the killing of security agents by militants - Fani-Kayode
| November 20, 2012
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has rebuffed President Goodluck Jonathan's claims that the 1999 army invasion of Odi in Bayelsa State was a failure. During a presidential media chat that he held on Sunday, President Jonathan addressed the statements, made by Obasanjo, that he was being weak with his response to the Boko Haram insurgency. President Goodluck Jonathan asserted that the military invasion that Obasanjo ordered in 1999 had been a failure. President Jonathan said, “After that invasion, myself and the governor entered Odi…and saw some dead people. Most of the people that died in Odi were mostly old men, women and children, none of the militants was killed.” “If bombarding Odi was to solve the problem, then it was never solved. If the attack on Odi had solved the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta, then the Yar’ Adua government would not have come up with the Amnesty programme. So, that should tell you that the attack on Odi never solved the militancy problem and we had more challenges after that attack on Odi.” However, in a detailed response to President Jonathan's assertions, Obasanjo said that the operation stopped the killing of security agents by Niger Delta militants and reduced their ability to carry out acts of terror. Mr. Femi Fani-Kayode, who served as a former Minister of Aviation during Obasanjo's administration, said he had been briefed about the facts of the Odi invasion by President Olusegun Obasanjo and Colonel Kayode Are, the former D-G of the SSS, after the presidential media chat and shared his own views. Fani-Kayode said in a statement, “During a live broadcast of the Presidential Media Chat to the nation on the evening of November 18, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the military operation in Odi by the Nigerian Armed Forces in 1999, which was ordered by President Olusegun Obasanjo, did not solve the problem or stop the killing of soldiers, policemen and innocent civilians in the Niger Delta area by the terrorists and militants. He also said that all he saw in Odi after he went there on an official visit as Deputy Governor were the dead bodies of old people. "With the greatest respect to Mr. President this is factually incorrect. He has either forgotten the relevant facts or he has been misinformed. Whichever way he is mistaken and it is important for those of us that proudly served the Obasanjo administration to respond to him in order to clarify the issues, clear the air and set the record straight for the sake of history and posterity." “I had the privilege of being briefed about all the facts by President Olusegun Obasanjo himself and Col. Kayode Are, the former DG of the SSS, immediately after the Presidential Media Chat and I believe that it is appropriate to share some of those facts with members of the Nigerian public given the grave assertion and serious charge that President Jonathan has made." The facts are that five policemen and four soldiers were killed by a group of Niger Delta militants when they tried to enter the town of Odi in Bayelsa State in order to effect their arrest. This happened in 1999. After the brutal killing of these security personnel, President Olusegun Obasanjo asked the then Governor of Bayelsa State, Governor Alamieyeseigha, to identify, locate, apprehend and hand over the perpetrators of that crime. “The Governor said that he was unable to do so and President Obasanjo, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, took the position that security personnel could not be killed with impunity under his watch without a strong and appropriate response from the Federal Government. Consequently he sent the military in, to uproot and kill the terrorists and to destroy their operational base which was the town of Odi. The operation was carried out with military precision and efficiency and it’s objectives were fully achieved. The terrorists were either killed and those that were not killed fled their operational base in Odi. They were uprooted, weakened, demoralised and completely dispersed. That was the purpose of the whole exercise and that purpose was achieved. The truth is that the killing of security agents and soldiers with impunity by the Niger Delta militants virtually stopped after the operation in Odi and remained at a bare minimum right up until the time that President Obasanjo left power eight years later in 2007. I advise those that doubt this to go and check the records. ”The same thing was done in Zaki-Biam in Benue State in the North-central zone of Nigeria in 2001 after 19 soldiers were murdered in cold blood and then brutally beheaded by some terrorists from that area. Again after the Federal Government’s strong military response in Zaki Biam, the killing of security personnel with impunity stopped. The objectives of the military operations in both Odi and Zaki-Biam were to stop such killings, to eliminate and deal a fatal blow to those that perpetrated them and to discourage those that may seek to carry out such barbarous butchery and mindless violence in the future. “Those were the objectives and nothing more and clearly those objectives were achieved. There is no doubt that after Odi, there were still unrest, agitations, protests, kidnappings and the blowing up and sabotage of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta area but there were hardly any more attacks on or killing of soldiers and security personnel by the terrorists and militants because they knew that to do that would attract a swift and forceful reaction and terrible retribution from the Nigerian military. Fani-Kayode aslo said that the comments that President Obasanjo had made last week had been misconstrued and misrepresented. He said, "President Obasanjo never said that the Odi treatment should be applied to Boko Haram or that such action is appropriate in these circumstances. What he said was that a solution ought to have been found or some sort of action ought to have been taken sooner rather than allow the problem to fester over time like a bad wound and get worse. “There can be no doubt that he was right on this because, according to President Jonathan’s own Chief of Army Staff, no less than 3,000 people have been killed by Boko Haram in the last two years alone. That figure represents approximately the same number of people that were killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland and the British mainland in the 100 years that the war between them and British lasted and before peace was achieved between the two sides. “The same number of casualties that the IRA inflicted on the people of the United Kingdom in 100 years, is the same number of casualties that Boko Haram have managed to inflict on our people in just two. This is unacceptable and it is very disturbing. The Federal Government must cultivate the courage and the political will to stop the killings by Boko Haram and to find a permanent solution to the problem.”

(2) Comment


"The views and opinions expressed in these comment(s) or article(s) do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of NGEX, its partners or its affiliates."
ilemobayo emmanuel    makurdi, nigeria    December 01, 2012
Mr president it's high time u find permanent solution to this problems.
Pastor Commander Samyoung Onwuzulike    Washington, DC, USA    November 20, 2012
Ndigbo sacrificial animals for Nigeria's sins. If Fani Kayode sees OBJ killings in Odi and Zaki Ibiam as right thing to do. What about the killing of 700 MASSOB members in Onitsha by OBJ soldiers and police which no body or government, even so called Human Rights groups did not see as injustice.

It takes me back to killings of Ndigbo from 1966 after the 1st Military Coup led by Maj Chukwuma Nzeogwu which reached its peak on July 29 1966 when Maj Gen JTU Ironsi and Col Adenkule Fajuri were killed in Ibadan, to mass killings in Kano Airport, Lagos Air Post till 1970. Do you think Nigerians who committed these crimes shall get out of it without paying Ndigbo for destruction? From 1966 to date is for OBJ and his Nigerians but now am coming for the freedom of Ndigbo the angels of Rising Sun of Mother Christ.

I am crying while writing this message this morning. I remember the Queen of Umunoha , The Rising Sun Vicky Nwachineke who was killed along with other 699 MASSOB members in Onitsha by OBJ and his soldiers. OBJ when I cried the heavens and earth move their angels of war for action. Wait and see. I'm coming with all angels of nature to sink you and greedy Nigerians.
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