Senate, Service Chiefs hold closed-door meeting on Okuama military tragedy

The Service Chiefs appeared before the Senate Joint Committee, consisting of representatives from the Army, Navy, Defence, and Air Force committees, to initiate an investigative hearing regarding the brutal killing of military personnel in the Okuama community, Delta state.

A moment of silence was observed to honor the fallen soldiers on Wednesday. Due to the sensitivity of the issue, Chairman Ahmed Lawan announced that the investigative hearing would take place behind closed doors.

Among those present were the Chief of Army Staff, Lt-General Taoreed Lagbaja; Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Hassan Abubakar; and Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Emmanuel Ogalla. The Chief of Defence Staff, General Christopher Musa, was represented.

Following the Senate’s directive on Tuesday, the Committee on Defence, Army, Navy, and Air Force was tasked with collaborating with military authorities to uncover the underlying causes of what was described as “a dastardly act.”

The Defence Headquarters had previously released the names of the 17 military personnel killed in the attack, which occurred during a peacekeeping mission in the region’s conflict-ridden communities.

Days after the gruesome murder, the Defence Headquarters said 17 personnel including the Commanding Officer of 181 Amphibious Battalion, two majors, one captain, and 12 personnel of the battalion were among those killed.

The gruesome murder has continued to draw condemnation from authorities in Nigeria. President Bola Tinubu described it as an attack on the nation and gave marching orders to security agencies to fish out the masterminds of the attack.

“I extend my profound condolences to the families of these fallen soldiers, their colleagues, and their loved ones. The military high command is already responding to this incident. The cowardly offenders responsible for this heinous crime will not go unpunished.”

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