Fully armed soldiers, yesterday afternoon, visited Okuta in Baruten Local Council of Kwara State to confirm alleged annexation of 16 villages in the area by the neighbouring Benin Republic.
The soldiers, who arrived Okuta at about 3pm had a brief meeting with the Emir of Okuta and his traditional chiefs and went to visit the affected areas, reports Vanguard.
Residents of Okuta and the villages went about their normal businesses as there was no violence or threat to peace from any quarters.
Efforts to speak with the Emir of Okuta, Alhaji Idris Serio Abubakar, yesterday, were not successful as he was said to have been ordered from the above to keep sealed lips on the matter.
However, the Kwara State Government denied reports that 16 villages in the state have been invaded and occupied by Republic Republic.
The state government, in a statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Communication, Alhaji Mahmud Ajeigbe, yesterday, said the affected villages of Okuta District of Baruten Local Government Area of the state are calm and still under the control of the Federal Government.
The statement further stressed that although no foreign government has erected any structure nor hoisted their national flag in any of the villages as erroneously reported in the media, the state government has alerted the security agencies on the reports.
Alhaji Ajeigbe said the Emir of Okuta, Alhaji Idris Abubakar, Chairman of Baruten Local Government Council and security agencies in the area have all confirmed that residents of the 16 villages are going about their normal activities without fear and that there is no sign of foreign security agencies or their structures in the area.
The government therefore urged everyone to remain calm and go about their normal businesses as the Nigerian security agencies are up to the task of securing Nigeria’s borders and her people.
Commenting on the development, the Defence headquarters,yesterday, said that no single Nigerian territory will be allowed into the hands of intruders or any foreign nation.
Consequently, the Defence headquarters disclosed that a high powered investigative panel has been initiated to probe the Benin Republic the invasion of Nigeria’s territory.
Acting Director of Defence Information, Colonel Rabe Abubakar in a telephone conversation with Saturday Vanguard, noted that “though the military was aware of the allegation, Nigeria being a member of various international organs of the United Nations and African Union as well as ECOWAS, will explore diplomatic means if the investigation into the alleged invasion is completed.
“But firstly, the government wants to know why, how and what happened, if the allegation is true in the first place,” he said.