By James Ezema
Yet to be identified gunmen in the early hours of Tuesday attacked the Otuoke country home of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa State leaving a soldier dead and others injured.
Jonathan was said to be away during the armed invasion. The attackers were said to have attempted to seize a gunboat belonging to the military in the area.
However, the ex-president’s spokesman, Ikechukwu Eze confirmed to newsmen that the attack occurred at a security post “near the Otuoke residence of former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in Bayelsa State.”
Mr Eze also confirmed that one soldier was killed during the attack.
“The gunmen who couldn’t stand the firepower of the military were forced to beat a retreat. One soldier, unfortunately, lost his life in the fight while another was injured. The injured soldier who is currently receiving treatment at a medical facility in Yenagoa is in a stable state,” he said.
He equally confirmed that Jonathan was not at home when the attack occurred.
Read Mr Eze’s full statement below:
Re: Attack in Otuoke by Unknown Gunmen
A security post stationed near the Otuoke residence of former President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in Bayelsa State was attacked by unknown gunmen early Tuesday morning.
The hoodlums who came in about five engine boats stormed the security post located about 100 metres away from former President Jonathan’s residence in his hometown Otuoke by 1:30 am on Tuesday and attempted to take away a gunboat belonging to the military stationed at the creek beside the residence. They were however resisted by gallant soldiers who engaged them in a fire fight.
The gunmen who couldn’t stand the firepower of the military were forced to beat a retreat. One soldier, unfortunately, lost his life in the fight while another was injured. The injured soldier who is currently receiving treatment at a medical facility in Yenagoa is in a stable state.
The former President who was not in Otuoke at the time of the attack however returned to his village early this morning to assess the situation.
Dr. Jonathan promptly condemned the attack and reassured his people that there was no cause for alarm. The former President has also condoled with the family of the deceased soldier, the military and has urged the concerned security authorities to swing into action and bring the culprits to book.
President Buhari Calls Jonathan
In his reaction, President Muhammadu Buhari engaged the former President in a phone conversion to sympathise with him following the attack.
Malam Garba Shehu, the President’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, confirmed this development in a statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
In the telephone conversation, Buhari expressed sadness over the “tragic and unfortunate attack,” during which a gallant soldier lost his life.
While commending the soldiers on guard for bravely repelling the attack, the president condoled with family members as well as officers and men of the Nigerian Army over the loss of one of the guards.
Buhari said the protection of the life of the former leader and all citizens of the country would continue to be the major preoccupation of his administration.
Okowa Condemns Attack
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa in his reaction Delta Governor, Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, has condemned in strong terms Tuesday’s attack on former President Goodluck Jonathan at his Otuoke home in Bayelsa.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, on Tuesday in Asaba, the governor said the incident was disturbing and and unwarranted, noting that it was more condemnable because the former President was a peace loving man who always preached peaceful political engagements.
He stated that Jonathan, had been a great patriot and a promoter of peaceful politics, and did not deserve to be attacked in his home town or anywhere else.
“I join men of goodwill in condemning the attack on former President Goodluck Jonathan, who has been a great patriot and exemplary leader.
“It is pathetic and shameful that unknown gunmen could attack a leader who had on several ocassions said his ‘ambition was not worth the blood of any Nigerian’.
“On behalf of the government and people of Delta, I condemn the attack on our dear former President.
“I also commiserate with him on the unfortunate demise of a gallant soldier who lost his life in the attack.
“I call on the police and other security agencies to fish out those behind the attack and bring them to justice.
“I also urge the Federal Government to beef up security around the former Nigerian leader,” Okowa said.
APC Reacts, Demands Thorough Investigation
Meanwhile, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has demanded from “security and intelligence agencies” a swift, sweeping and thorough probe of the shocking incident. The party said in a statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mallam Lanre Issa-Oni.
The APC joined “other well-meaning Nigerians in condemning the attack in its entirety. We call on security agencies to fish out the perpetrators and their sponsors.
“We extend condolences to the family of the soldier who reportedly died in the attack. The Party also wishes the other injured soldier a full and speedy recovery”, APC said.