It is about two weeks after the April 19th incident where soldiers attached to the Shell Petroleum Development Commission rained havoc on K-Dere community in Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers state. Their attack on the community resulted in the death of one Nen-Eikpege Lezor who died immediately after being hit by stray bullets and leaving Mr. Leny Kpegezor to fight for his life in the hospital. The Community Development Chairman of K-Dere, Chief Festus Legbara engaged TNN CHUKU EDITH in an interview, where he unfolds outcomes after the attack, the decision of SPDC, soldiers and the community on the matter.
It's been two weeks after the incident, how is the community faring?
Am very grateful you cared to ask, because this is the only medium through which our voice can be heard. Well, everywhere is calm, K-Dere is calm, though people are still treading cautiously. Anxiety has died down but fear still runs in the minds of many because the unexpected shock that befell this community is a nightmare no one would want to have. It's a pain that still sticks strongly in our heart, the wound seems impossible to heal immediately, the hurt is as fresh as anything else.
That means K-Dere is on standstill, shut down for now?
No, not really. People are going about their businesses and other personal activities like before. Everyone is stepping out to look for their daily bread but I'm still sure that if any stone is dashed to the ground, it will surely cause pandemonium, panic, fear. My dear, as a result of an issue we know nothing about, an attack we were not involved in, that did not even happen in our community, we lost a son and one is still battling to survive it, they have families, friends, they have responsibilities. So tell me, how can that be forgotten easily?
What measures are you taking to ensure that the perpetrators of these acts are brought to book?
Nothing more than the lawful step, we are taking the lawful step, I am so grateful to the youths of this community who have been so understanding and patient; they have been obedient and calm. After the press conference I had, the Army and Shell Petroleum Development Commission reacted, but ridiculously. They were denying everything that happened, by that calling us liars, even the life of our own son that was lost when they attacked us meant nothing to them. Rather than be remorseful at least for the life they took, shockingly, they showed they were inhuman by the drama they put up, denying everything they did to us. It's surprising that SPDC will in an attempt to cover the evil they did to our community, call us liars while the evidence stare them seriously in the face. The world has seen for themselves so I wonder the kind of joke SPDC is trying to play out of this. What we did was to refute what they have said with evidence, clear evidence, bringing the true position, the true picture of the matter to the general public. The community will sit, after that we are going to write to the company.
What about the Army?
Yes, they said that there was an attack on shell workers by youths; that they only reacted to that attack. But our position is that the place they claimed they were working is B-Dere not K-Dere. So, we are wondering why they were attacked in B-Dere where they were working. They left B-Dere and came to attack K-Dere, there is difference between B-Dere and K-Dere, so where they were attacked is B-Dere, where they were working not K-Dere, so they supposed to attack that community not leave the community where they were attacked to attack another community, inflicting unforgettable injury on us. What SPDC and those soldiers did to this community cannot be forgotten in a hurry if at all it will be forgotten. After killing and injuring our own, they went to the market, flogged women, scattered the market, harassed our women, two of the people they shot, one is dead and buried; the other is still receiving treatment in the hospital.
Won't it be much better if the Rivers State Government were invited into this matter?
One thing with state government, they are only interested in politics, anything that happens to the people they pay deaf ears to it. State government cannot deny not knowing about this incident but as usual, they have not done anything, shown any interested or reacted to it.
The deed has been done, what exactly do you desire as justice?
The SPDC till this moment, we requested for audience, which they as of last week scheduled for our meeting with them yesterday, Thursday. They later cancelled the audience till further notice. So that is why by Monday, we are going to write them an official letter giving them an ultimatum for their response, until they take responsibility for their reckless actions, grant us audience, we have no agreement to reach with them yet.