Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), has been asked by the Bayelsa State Government to produce the soldiers who murdered Reginald Dei, the Government House photographer, and Seidougha Taridi, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader in Oweikorogha in the state during the just-concluded presidential and National Assembly elections.
The state government, in a statement on Tuesday by Nathan Egba-Ologo, Director of Strategic Communications, Governor’s Office, said that the COAS had a responsibility to redeem the image of the army and arrest the soldiers who killed Dei and Taridi for trial.
Egba-Ologo stressed that the deceased were killed in the house of Taribi while they were waiting for the results of the elections in their polling units several meters away from the polling unit where they voted.
He said that Buratai should be wary of tying the army to the Bayelsa APC’s propensity for violence and criminality.
Egba-Ologo implored Buratai to investigate the circumstances leading to the murder of the Government House photographer and the PDP leader in Bayelsa.
According to him, the earlier narrative that the deceased were killed by soldiers in army uniform would not stand anymore as the Publicity Secretary of APC, Buokoribo Doifie, has confirmed in reports that a member of his party identified as Thankgod Deizigha led the soldiers to the residence where the deceased were shot.
He said the claim by the APC spokesman in Bayelsa that the duo were shot because they found election materials with them was a wild allegation which should be investigated.
Governor Dickson’s aide added that the desperate attempt by Doifie to justify the gruesome murder by alleging the deceased were killed during a gun battle was evil and should be investigated by the army authorities to ascertain the culpability or otherwise of its operatives in the brazen murder of two innocent Nigerian citizens.
He said the state government would adopt all lawful measures to ensure that those behind the heinous act were brought to justice.
His words: “The Bayelsa State Government is making a passionate appeal to the Chief Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, to investigate, identify and prosecute the soldiers who murdered a Government House Photographer, Mr. Reginald Dei, and a Chieftain òf the PDP, Mr. Seidougha Taribi, on February 23, 2019 in Southern Ijaw.
“Contrary to our initial thinking that the gory murder was carried out by armed men in Army uniform, fresh facts have emerged that soldiers of the Nigerian Army killed the photo journalist and his friend in Southern Ijaw.
“We are of the strong view that the Nigerian Army under the leadership of Lt. Gen. Buratai has a responsibility to intervene and ensure investigation of this brazen act to redeem the image of the service.”