A soldier attached to Kingsley Kuku, an aide of President Goodluck Jonathan and Chairman of Amnesty Implementation Committee on Saturday shot and injured a youth in Yenagoa, again prompting the question as to why presidential assistants are being giving military protection.
Kuku, who has been making overtures to Niger Delta militants ahead of the 2015 re-election bid of President Jonathan, was in the Bayelsa State capital to attend the convention of the Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) with the agenda of influencing the leadership of the youth body. This is despite the fact the Mr. Jonathan says he has not decided whether he will run, and that he has not asked anybody to do any 2015 work for him.
Some of the youths, who were opposed to Kuku’s meddlesomeness in their meeting, became agitated and their protest became rowdy.
The soldier reportedly shot to restore calm but the bullets hit 26-year old Edolo Bouepre, a delegate from Sagbama Local Government Area.
The mishap incurred public outrage and condemnation, and Kuku hurriedly left town and returned to Abuja.
The leadership of the Civil Liberty Organisation (CLO) in Bayelsa has pledged assistance to Bouepre. State Chairman Nengi James, who visited the victim at the Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, made a donation of N50,000 to assist with his medical bills.
James announced that the CLO would also offer legal assistance to Bouepre to enable him seek legal redress over the unprofessional conduct of the soldier.
“The CLO is not happy over the state of the victim. We are ready to sue the Nigerian Army and the Joint Military Task Force over the show of wickedness by its trigger happy officer,” he said, stressing out that the incident could have triggered violence in the state and the region,” which is already dealing with different forms of violence.
“We urge the Bayelsa State Government and the past Leaders of the IYC to assist this victim who is a member of the Ijaw Youth Council and was at the event legitimately,” James said.
Bouepre, thanked the CLO for its show of love and brotherliness, appealing to Nigerians to help him to offset his medical bills. He said that he was outside the meeting hall due to the rowdiness inside, when the soldier ran outside the hall and shot to the ground, with the bullet deflecting to hit him in the stomach.
“I felt a sharp pain under some seconds, and saw my blood gushing out. I don’t want to die from this gunshot wound,” he begged. Sources in the Joint Task Force told SaharaReporters today that its operatives had nothing to do with the IYC convention.
“There was no application from anybody and we did not deploy any soldier to the event, however our checks showed that the soldier was on the entourage of Chairman of the Amnesty Committee, Mr Kingsley Kuku who attended the convention from Abuja,” the source said. “We have no links with Ijaw Youths, their internal affairs is not part of our mandate.”