Hundreds of wailing residents of Enekorogha Community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, on Friday, held a mournful procession, lamenting that the ‘angels’ sent to rescue them from diseases and death have been killed and chased away.
They therefore called on the federal and state governments to save them from avoidable deaths and the possible invasion of the community by remnants of the arrested militants who kidnapped the Britons early October.
The procession, comprising women, men, children, youths and the aged all clad in black attires, also called on security agents to effect the arrest of leader of the kidnappers, one Karoewi who’s currently at larger.
The protesters, armed with placards with varying inscriptions on their grievances, said the death of British missionary, Dr. Ian Squire in the hands of his abductors
and the return of his colleagues to the United Kingdom after their release was a setback to the community.
Leader of Enekorogha once-bubbling community, Prince Michael Ogobiri, who led the procession of mourners to the house of Dr Squire where he lived with his colleagues, said the absence of the Britons was a minus to the well being of the community.
According to him, with the clinic established by Dr David Donavan at a standstill now, the health of the villagers are at grave danger as the nearest medical facility to the community is at Bomadi some two hours drive.
“Dr Ian’s death is a painful death to the entire community. We’re at risk of common diseases God was using the white men to save is from.
“Here, there’s no health centre. We have to cross the river and board a bike to Bomadi for medical attention. Their absence means we’re in grave danger.
“We’re not happy about their death. We’re morning his death that’s why we are sending message to his family and the crew members.
“They’ve been helping us in terms of medical care for children, women, aged in all the villages.
“We want the world to know that we’re against what happened to the Britons. Were totally against it. It’s a great loss to us.
“The death has led to the closure of the clinic. Everything is shut down. The loss of Ian is pains to us.
“We want security agents to ensure that Karoewi is brought to book. If Karoewi is still existing, then we’re not safe.
“That means other foreigners who may want to come and assist us will not come because of Karoewi,” Prince Ogobiri lamented.
Other women, elders and children, who spoke to Saturday Tribune during the procession, also lamented the death of Dr Ian and the return of the other crew members to the UK.
They described the death of Dr Ian and the exit of Dr David Donavan and the new foundation clinic crew from the community as a loss of a great gift from God to the community, calling on the missionary foundation to return to the community.
“They’re a gift to us from God and somebody from nowhere has come to kidnap that blessing from us,” an elderly man in the village enthused.
Meanwhile, it was gathered that the deceased and other crew members of the foundation had earlier rejected the local security provided by the community on the ground that there was no need for it.
“We had set up a local vigilante for them before, but they rejected it because they said they believed in God and they’re missionaries.
‘We never believed such could happen. They’ve been here since 2007.
“They came this time to sensitize communities on free eye clinic coming next February,” Prince Ogobiri further disclosed.
The Britons, David Donovan, his wife Shirley and Alanna Carson all well as Dr Ian, were in Nigeria to offer cataract operations and eye check-ups to people of the Ijaw community.
As of October 13 when they were kidnapped, 100 patients were said to have been pencilled in for cataract operation next February while four indigenes of the community had been trained abroad to compliments efforts of the missionaries.
It will be recalled that one of the suspected kidnappers was killed in Sapele during a shootout with operatives of the Inspector General of Police Intelligence Response Team led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Abba Kyari, while two others were arrested from Warri late Wednesday.
However, one of the two sergeants, Sergeant Sanusi Lanre, who was shot in the abdomen and as reportedly died on Friday.
He was reported to be recuperating after he was operated upon at about 3:00a.m on Thursday and was said to have received four pints of blood.
PPPRO Andrew Aniamaka of the Delta State Police Command, confirmed the development, saying the other officer, Sergeant Agunbiade Adebayo, who was shot in his two hands, is recuperating.