Urhobo Historical Society
THE MILITARY IN ODI, IN THEIR OWN WORDS AND IN THE WORDS OF JOURNALISTS AND NIGERIAN STUDENTS OF NIGERIAN MILITARY BEHAVIOURS

The Nigerian military is used to pacifying Nigeria's civilian popolations. Indeed, it owes its origins in British colonialism to such a mission. In more than thirty years of post-Independence Nigerian history, the military have ruled Nigerians as if they were their subjects, having replaced British colonial rulers by overthrowing civilian leaders. The collapse of civilian policing functions is one clear consequence of prolomged military rule. It is not surprising that under a quasi-civilian regime that followed military rule, the Nigeria Police Force is unable to perform normal policing functions.

The inability of the centralized Nigeria Police Force to cope with local law and order problems provided the grounds for President Obasanjo's threat to impose a state of emergency and, thus, military rule, in Bayelsa State. Not waiting for his ultimatum to expire, President Obasanjo despatched battle-ready military divisions to arrest a few youth who were said by the Governor of the State to be terrorizing the Odi community. How a force of several thousand hardened military men would fetch out a few young people from a population of many thousands -- of children, the elderly, and men and women -- was unclear from the assured statetements of President Obasanjo that he had sent in his military men into Odi in order to restore law and order. There did not appear to be any manifest breakdown of law and order before they arrived at Odi. It was clear, from their own words, that the military officers understood their mission quite differently from what President Obasanjo told Nigerians. Their boasts supply such evidence. They were there, their spokesman was to boast in the selection below, to teach the people of Odi a lesson.

The crimes for which the international community has charged Yugoslav soldiers in the Balkans are not as heavy as those acts that Nigerians soldiers who invaded Odi have publicly boasted as having enacted. It is remarkable that the Tribunal in The Hague will spend millions of dollars to collect evidence of war crimes against Yugoslav soldiers. Such military behaviors seem to be well publicized in the case of the Niger Delta.


"ARMY TEACHES A LESSON IN BAYELSA STATE"
A TALE OF MILITARY MASSACRES: 
FROM OGONILAND TO ODI TOWN
ANALYSES AND COMMENTS ON GENERAL MALU'S VIEWS ON MILITARY BEHAVIOURS IN THE INVASION OF ODI TOWN



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