"It is Highly Demoralizing When People We Are Protecting Are Killing Us" - COAS Grieves

The Chief of Army Staff, COAS, Lt General Taoreed Lagbaja has said that the killings of 17 of the Nigerian Army’s finest men, who were gruesomely murdered in a reprehensible manner on 14 March 2024 in the Okuama community of Delta State while they went on a legitimate peace-making mission by the very people they are trained, equipped, and took an oath to protect, is highly demoralizing. 

General Lagbaja who in a sober mood noted that military profession deals with matters of life and death said when soldiers die in the hands of the enemies of the State, we take it as dying for what the nation has considered a just cause; we celebrate them as gallant heroes. 

"It grieves my heart that it took our search and recovery effort over 72 hours to recover some vital organs of the decapitated and disemboweled bodies of my men that were scattered all over the Okuama community by the community youths and their friends.

"I consider it the most barbaric act any citizen or community can commit against the authority of the state, and I must place on record that a lot of restraints have been exercised so far in our search and recovery efforts for missing arms, ammunition, other equipment, and body parts. " he noted

He said the Okuama killing has added to the care of the Nigerian Army and, by extension, the Nigeria state - 10 widows (three of whom are 4, 5, and 8 months pregnant), 21 orphans, and many other dependents which include parents. 

While commiserating with the families of the gallant soldiers, General Lagbaja assured the families of the fallen heroes that the Nigerian Army and the good people of this country will not leave them in the cold. We shall do all within our power to provide succor to them and preserve the memories of their departed loved ones.

The COAS assured President Tinubu and all Nigerians that the Nigerian Army remains committed to its constitutional responsibilities and will not be deterred by setbacks such as witnessed in the Okuama community. 

"As tasked by Mr President and Commander-In-Chief of our Armed Forces, the Nigerian Army, with the assistance of its sister services and other security agencies, is committed to bringing the perpetrators of the Okuama murder to book and recover all service and personal belongings taken from the murdered troops."he affirmed 

The Nigerian Army will continue to seek the cooperation of all well-meaning Nigerians, particularly in the affected area, toward swift and successful conduct of our search and recovery operations.

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