The former Chief of Defence Staff, General Alexander Ogomudia (Rtd) has been allegedly fingered in the bloody crisis rocking oil rich Uzere community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta state.
BIGPEN Online gathered that Ogomudia, who was also a one-time Chief of Army Staff is being accused of arming the militia youths who have been terrorizing the community.
Ogomudia hails from Uzere community.
Investigation revealed that his palatial edifice in the troubled community is where the militia youths are gainfully accommodated.
They allegedly feast and dine in the building and go out to carry out operations and returned to the building which is highly fortified.
Multiple sources from the community, particularly those who were made to take refuge at Internally Displaced People (IDP) camps had allegedly accused Ogomudia of sponsoring the militia group who styled themselves as ‘freedom fighters’.
Ogomudia is reportedly accused of supplying the militia youths with arms and ammunitions.
This information though could not be independently verified by BIGPEN Online, multiple security sources in the area confirmed the development, saying that the former army top brass had been entangled in the scandal for a long time now.
One of the sources, a secondary school teacher alleged that the militia youths have free access to Ogomudia residence and are often seen brandishing dangerous weapons around the premises.
It was learnt that some of the militia ‘boys’ are known loyalists of certain politicians in the community as well as the former army top brass.
“Over forty percent of the armed youths are Sam Ogri boys, while the recent are General Ogomudia boys. David, an aide to Ferguson Onwo, the member representing Isoko South constituency II in the state house of Assembly is also among the armed youths unleashing the mayhem in the community,” our source alleges.
Sam Ogri is a popular figure in the area and known protégé of Ogomudia.
The President General of Isoko apex social cultural organization, Isoko Development Union (IDU), Chief Iduh Amadhe is also allegedly accused of fueling the crisis over his moves to resettle the dethroned traditional ruler of the troubled community.
Amadhe’s move to bring back HRM Odogri, the estranged monarch into the community is being resisted by a quarter of the community including those in Ogomudia camp.
The crisis had since been polarized into two factions – those who support Iduh Amadhe and those in support of Ogomudia.
It took a more dangerous dimension when the management of the Nigeria Petroleum Development Company, (NPDC), operators of the Oil Mining Lease, OML 28 coincidentally wired N20million naira to the leadership of the community for youth empowerment.
It was gathered that the immediately the money was confirmed, the leadership of the community diverted same and pocketed the sum since the town was already enmeshed in supremacy battle.
The self styled armed ‘Freedom Fighters’ who have been terrorizing the community became emboldened and had threatened fire and brick stones against perceived enemies.
The development later snowballed into the recent renewed gun battle between the youths loyal to the factions and security agents drafted to the community which has become a ‘ghost town’ except for the ‘warlords’ and those who enjoy their security cover.
But reaction to the allegations when contacted by one of our correspondents, Gen. Ogomudia dismissed the allegations that he supplied arms and harboured the armed youths in the community.
The erstwhile army chief however accused some persons in Isoko South for fueling the crisis including the chairman of the local council area, Itiako Ikpokpo.
He blamed the renewed crisis on attempt to forcefully reinstate the deposed former ruler of the community.
The former army top boss said that it is foolhardy for anyone to say a man of his status who succeeded in nailing Islamic terrorist group, Boko Haram during his time would stoop so low to sponsoring militia community youths to foment trouble in his own community.
His word: “I am based in Lagos, i don’t reside in the community, but I learned there is crisis there and it is being instigated by those God has blessed. How can any one say I supply arms and harbour the youths in my compound.? Those saying that are just stupid people who are only interested in denting the image of people, I have risen to the top of the armed forces of this country, and I commanded it creditably well.
“All these Boko Haram could have started in my time but I nailed it and some jokers in the community now think the best thing in retirement is for me to be supplying arms to who, I don’t live in Uzere, I live in Lagos. I was told no weapon was used.
“If the weapons were flowing so much because General Ogomudia was privileged to be in the army and they are jealous, they can go and die, at least nobody in that community helped me to rise to the top of the armed forces, it was my effort, I built my name myself, so no bastard is going to spoil it. They can go to hell”, Ogomudia yelled.
But in a swift reaction when contacted by one of our correspondent, the Isoko South local government area chairman, Itiako Ikpokpo, stated “Whoever that is alleging that I am part of the crisis in Uzere community is irresponsible and doesn’t know the fact of the issues, or doesn’t live around here. I have a duty and responsibility to see that there’s peace and order in the local government.
“The crisis in Uzere is nothing but the traditional stool and most recent is the oil money from NPDC being hijack by some of the leaders both past and present. Before now there has been this armed youths who called themselves ‘Freedom Fighters’, who are enjoying the backing of some powerful forces in the community and unleashing mayhem.
“In August, we suspended the community annual conference because there was serious tension over the N20 million from NPDC meant for youths empowerment which was tempered with by the former PG of the town and we discovered that the suspended current PG was also part of the tension. The sponsored ‘freedom fighter’ went and burnt down the vehicle belonging to the community youths.
“We have very prominent people from Uzere, and we have called for a peace meeting but General Ogomudia has refused to honour any of our invitations, he is insisting that he will not sit down with his brothers and sisters from Uzere and find a lasting peace to the whole issue, is that right, he’s supposed to be a father, leader and should show example.
“The security also had the information that the self claimed ‘freedom fighters are taking refuge in General Ogomudia’s compound, but I hope and pray it is not true because at his level such cannot happen, I doubt, he can’t involve in such a thing. In fact no community has the right to groom any terrorist group in my local government”, Ikpokpo warned.