By Nehi Igbinijesu.
On the 20th of November 1999, the Nigerian Army, under the direction of President Obasanjo, carried out an attack on a largely Ijaw town of Odi in Bayelsa State. The attack was instigated when twelve policemen were murdered by a gang near the town. And in pursuit of those responsible, the military invaded, exchanged fire and proceeded to unleash terror on the civilian population.
An environmental rights activist put the civilian causality at 2500 deaths. It is believed that the Odi Massacre was an attempt to quell agitations in the Niger Delta over indigenous rights to resource control and environmental protection.
The outcome of the Odi saga showed that violence should never be an option in conflict resolution as various present –day militia activities in the Niger Delta can be traced to that bloody day when our soldiers entered Odi to kill our own people.