There was confusion in Ondo State riverine community yesterday after some personnel of the Nigerian Navy fired shots at a commercial boat transporting a journalist and some officials of the Ilaje Rural Development Committee (IRDC) to the neighbouring community.
The reporter and humanitarian workers according to reports, were on their way for a free medical outreach in the riverine communities when they were attacked by the security agents at Odofado.
Naija News understands that IRDC is a community-based organisation established back in 2005 to bring succour to residents of the area through initiation of various programmes and projects, under the sponsorship of Chevron Nigeria Limited (CNL).
However, yesterday when the officials were embarking on their outreach, Naval officers on sight flagged down their boat. The boat according to reports, had slowed down a bit for the security agents before it later moved.
Reacting, the military operatives inexplicably got angered and began to shoot sporadically in anger. The development caused a commotion in the area as residents fled the area for safety while the humanitarian workers also take cover, Naija News learnt.
It was said that the situation also forced residents of the community including their heads to troop out to condemn the action of the naval personnel. As the driver of the boat sped to the creeks, the naval personnel pursued him to a halt, with the officials running in different directions for dear lives.
The journalist involved, Aderemi Bamgbose is said to be a correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). He reportedly sustained some injuries during the event.
The naval operatives who failed to listen to anybody reportedly went on to seize and took away the boat along with the personal effects of the occupants.
Reacting, IRDC’s Welfare Officer, Andrew Imese condemned the actions of the naval personnel, saying it was wrong for them to shoot the officials, as they were not criminals.
“What is our offence? They flagged us down; we complied and later moved, but they began to pursue us, shooting sporadically as if we are criminals.
“We only escaped death by whiskers. This is condemnable, particularly coming from the operatives of a responsible and professional organisation as the Nigerian Navy,” Imisie said.
The Nigerian Navy is, however, yet to issue any official statement on the incident as of reporting time.