Published On: Wed, Oct 9th, 2013

Kokori’s Kelvin …Does DSS Arrest the Right Man?

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Kevin aennd his henchmen

LAGOS OCTOBER 9TH (URHOBOTODAY)-Although he was reportedly arrested by the Department of State Security (DSS) a fortnight ago, the image of kidnap kingpin Kelvin still looms larger than life in Kokori and other parts of Urhoboland, where his arrest is viewed with suspicion. The myth surrounding him was again bolstered by Saturday’s attack by his loyalists on two monarchs and Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) members in the town.
Ten days after the arrest of alleged notorious armed robbery and kidnap gang lord, Kelvin Oniarah in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, gunmen suspected to be his boys on Saturday supervised another reign of terror, wanton destruction and bloodletting in his hometown of Kokori, Ethiope East Local Government Area of Delta State.
Department of State Security (DSS) spokesperson, Marilyn Ogar told reporters in Abuja that Oniarah is responsible for high-profile kidnaps of notable Nigerians, such as renowned lawyer Mike Ozekhome (SAN) and a former Anambra State Deputy Governor Chudi Nwike and others.
The activities of the Urhobo warlord peaked on September 18, when he made a desperate attempt to rally his kinsmen to his side by declaring war on the Federal Government over perceived neglect of the area. He announced the formation of a militia group, Liberation Movement of Urhobo
People (LIMUP) and issued a 60-day ultimatum to government to revert the trend or face unpleasant consequences. The threat was issued in the midst of singing and dancing women around the Kokori market square.
However, Saturday’s attack on violence came amidst reports in and around the Urhobo town that the man arrested in Port Harcourt, Rivers State was not the notorious Kelvin. They buttress their assertion by recalling that days after his arrest, nobody is yet to get a clear picture of Kelvin, except that of six or seven masked men of LIMUP, one of which was said to be the suspect.
Some sources said although Kelvin was to attend a truce meeting allegedly arranged by the traditional ruler of Agbon Kingdom, HRM James Omeru, Ogurimerime Ukori 1, he spurned the gesture at the last minute.
“The man they arrested is Kelvin Oniarah, while the Kelvin that is behind the Kokori crisis is Kelvin Ibruvwe. He was supposed to attend the meeting in Port Harcourt, but at the last minute, he changed his mind and sent his second-in-command, who is also known as Kelvin,” a source in the community stated.
Consequently, those peddling the argument, said Kelvin Ibruvwe had vowed to deal with the monarch and other chiefs in the kingdom who he accused of setting him up in Port Harcourt.
“Are you not surprised that since his alleged arrest nearly two weeks ago the security agency has failed to parade him? Knowing how Nigeria security agencies work, is this not strange? They must have realised that they have the wrong man that is why they couldn’t parade him. This is another death like that of Skehau (Boko Haram leader) all over again,” a source in Eku town told our reporter.
Besides, sources inside Kokori told our reporter that troops combing the town for arms and ammunition left behind by the suspect kept harassing them on the whereabouts of Kelvin. “If they have arrested Kelvin, why are they troubling innocent members of the community still asking for his whereabouts?” an indigene of the town, who believe that Kelvin is still on the loose, queried.
However, a reliable source in the SSS, who was contacted by our reporter, sneered at the rumour, insisting that “We (SSS) never make mistake. I can tell you that.”
However, it was against the backdrop of the uncertainty over the fate of Kelvin Oniarah/Ibruvwe that the Saturday’s attack assumed more significance and added to the debate over the arrest.
HRM James Omeru Ogurimerime Ukori 1 was hosting a Peoples’
Democratic Party (PDP) campaign team led by Chief Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, the party’s candidate in this weekend’s Delta Central Senatorial by-election, when the armed youths struck.
Eyewitness said the monarch was joined by his counterpart, the Ovie of Oruarivie-Abraka Kingdom, HRM Akpomeyoma Majoroh, Ojeta II, to welcome the PDP dignitaries when the gang struck. The PDP team included the member representing Ethiope Federal Constituency, Hon Akpodiogaga Emeyese and PDP Youth leader in Delta State, Arthur Akpowowo, a lawyer.
The monarch was performing the traditional Isieguare (welcome) rites with kola-nut and wine when staccato of gunfire rent the air. The gunmen barricaded the gates to the monarch’s magnificent personal edifice, sitting on a sprawling expansive of land, which serves as his palace, before opening fire on him and other guests.
Eyewitnesses said the monarchs, Aguariavwodo, other PDP leaders and mobile policemen attached to the team abandoned the ceremony and took to their heels. Several persons, including a federal lawmaker, were reportedly injured in the mad race to get out of harm’s way.
While the great scramble to safety ensued inside and around the palace, the marauding youths went to work on the cars of politicians and security patrol vans parked outside. They set fire to several cars, including two Toyota Hilux vans of security agents, and smashed dozens of other cars parked outside premises.
When the mobile police realised what was happening outside, they summoned courage and shot sporadically into the fire, ostensibly to scare the youths and stop the carnage. It worked, but only for a few minutes.
The gunmen returned, with more venom, and returned fire, forcing the mobile policemen to beat a hasty and final retreat. The siege continued while the embattled monarch and his guests made frantic telephone calls to security top shots and the Joint Task Force’s formations in and around Delta Central.
About an hour later, the commanding officers of 3 and 222 battalions of the Nigerian Army, Lt Colonel Ifeanyi Otu and VC Ibeh led their troops to dislodge the gunmen, much to the relief of the monarch and his guests who had all crept away from the range of gunshots.
The JTF teams secured Aguariavwodo and members of the PDP campaign and led them out of the troubled town through Isiokolo, headquarters of Ethiope
East. Reports that the monarch also fled the town under the security thick cover could not be independently confirmed.
JTF’s Sector 1 Intelligence Officer, Captain Mohammed Abdullahi, who was contacted by our reporter, confirmed the involvement of the task force in securing a safe passage for the PDP team from the town.
He, however, lamented that the team visited the troubled spot without informing the JTF or seeking advice on the security situation until they came under attack.
However, The Nation’s investigations revealed that Saturday’s attack was targeted at the embattled monarch, who was a staunch member of the ruling PDP in the state before his selection as the Ogurimerime, Ovie of Agbon.
Some sources, not only in Kokori, but in Agbon and other parts of Urhobo areas, said the monarch is not very popular among his people.
“Some people believes that he was made king because of his PDP connection,” a source said.
Besides, it was gathered that Saturday’s attack was supported by the people of Kokori because of their perceived disenchantment with the monarch. Some of his people felt that the monarch had not do enough to stem the tide of violence and resulting sufferings occasioned by the military invasion.
In a telephone chat with this reporter, a Kokori indigene said “The rally was disrupted by some aggrieved youths of Kokori community. Their grievance was that rather than using his position to find lasting solution to the suffering of his subjects who have been under the cruel hands of military, he was only interested in the success of his political party (PDP) in the election.”
Our source, who appealed for anonymity because of his position in the kingdom, confirmed that three vehicles, including two Hilux vans and a Toyota (Lexus) Sports-Utility Vehicle (SUV), were completely burnt at the entrance of the king’s palace.
“There were other cars, which windscreens were broken; all the cars belong to the PDP members who came for the rally. There was heavy shooting before the military was called in.”
Ironically, sources in the area said the notorious suspect was a creation of some notable politicians in the area. It was gathered that most of the arms and ammunition in Kokori and other parts of Urhobo land were procured by politicians who used Kelvin and other thugs to rig election in the past.
Ethiope East is the home of Chief Great Ovedje Ogboru, leader and governorship candidate of the Democratic Peoples Party (DPP) in the state in the 2011 election. The area is usually a hotbed of clashes between the opposition party and ruling PDP.
“From Orogun to Kokori and Udu, most community thugs have sophisticated weapon bought with public funds for the purpose of election rigging and ballot boxes snatching by both sets of politicians. Once the elections are over, it is difficult to retrieve the arms from the boys,” a political analyst said.
Source: Nation

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