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The Bodo War Of Attrition by frankmoney(m): 12:53pm On Aug 25, 2012
The Bodo War of Attrition
A briefing paper on the Bodo, Ogoni Crisis

Bodo Community lies on the coastal low land of the Niger Delta, and in the southern part of Gokana Local Government Area of Rivers State. The community is about 56 kilometers by road from Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers State, and is located between latitude 4o36’N and Longitude 7o21’E of the equator 1 Bodo is bounded on the North by the communities of Gokana, on the East by the Andoni people, on the West by the Bolo people of Okirika kingdom (Ijaw), and on the south by the Ibani (Bonny) (Ijaw) and the Atlantic Ocean. Bodo occupies an approximate area of about one hundred thousand hectares of land, Bodo has a considerable population which spread over the major town, its 36 villages and numerous fishing settlements, about 26 of them are located on its numerous Peninsula and Islands by the sea. These are clustered together into 3 electoral wards, with 38 voting centres

Genesis of The War of Attrition

During the Gubernatorial election in Rivers State in 1999, between Chief Ebenezer Isokariari, a retired top civil servant and an aspirant on the platform of the then All People Party (APP), now the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP) and Dr. Peter Odili, a medical doctor and former deputy Governor of Rivers State. Odili contested against Isokariari of APP in an election that was reportedly rigged in favour of Odili by elements of the Deebam and Deewell, who are now locked in a titanic war of attrition. They fought together as one, using dynamites, broken bottles and locally made pistols popularly called “Awka made”, to intimidate their opponents in favour of Odili around the Bodo axis and other Gokana communities. Kenneth Bie Kobani, the son of Chief Nnaa Edward Kobani, the Ogoni politician and traditional chief who was murdered at Giokoo, Gokana on May 21, 1994.

Hon. Gabriel brother Pidomson Jnr, the son of Mr. Gabriel Pidomson, Snr., a retired soldier who fought in the Suicide Squad (SS) section of the Biafran Army and ex-staff of now defunct, Rivers State Government owned Pan African Bank (PAB), constituted “a standing army” that fought for Odili’s victory in 1999. The electoral manipulations brought Odili, on board as Governor. After the elections, Odili rewarded Kenneth Kobani, who had spent several years in London, and had returned to Nigeria, he was appointed as Commissioner for Commerce and Industry.

In 2003, Kobani who is in his early 40s and Pidomson, Gabriel Jnr. Who was the People Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Rivers of Assembly, worked together to ensure the victory of their party. Pidomson is a graduate of Quantity Survey from Rivers State University of Science and Technology (RSUST) and a self-confessed member of The Supreme Vikings Confraternity. (SVC) 5

During the election, while Pidomson brought in the services of his Deewell 6, Kobani who is not known to be a member of any of the cult groups (gang), rented the services of the Klansmen Konfraternity’s Deebam 7. Through the help of his cousin, Mr. Paul Kobani, a staff of the Rivers State Judiciary, the groups unleashed violence in Bodo, Gokana and other parts of Ogoni during the 2003 election. They hijacked ballot boxes, killed, maimed and intimidated their opponents; they were heavily armed and had the blessings of Odili who returned for a second term in 2003 as Governor of the oily Rivers State.

(5. The Supreme Vikings Confraternity (SVC) also called The Adventures or De Norsemen Club of Nigeria is a campus cult founded about 1984 in what in Vikintical code, is called “Alpha Marine” (University of Port Harcourt), where Vikings was founded. The Vikings broke away from Buccaneer Association of Nigeria a.k.a Sealords, another notorious campus gang. Since its inception, SVC have grown in large numbers nationwide in territory institutions in Nigeria. In their lust for violence, they loot, maim and plunder like the Vikings of ancient Scandinavia.

6. Deewell was founded later by SVC as a their street wing for non students who are considered have guts to unleash violence on rivals and fight for supremacy and territory control. They control drug business etc on the streets, they are mostly found in suburbs of urban cities like Port Harcourt. While, Dewell came after as another street force, to respond to Deebam’s excesses. Even though you are not a member of Deebam, and meet their financial demand can be hired for any violent job.

7. Contrary to popular opinion, Klansmen Konfraternity (KK) has no link with the KU Klux Klan (K.K.K) of the United State whatsoever; there is no such cult like the US KKK in Nigeria University. The Klansmen Konfraternity (KK) started in University of Calabar in 1983 by five students known as the “Non jaw-jawed” (un-tortured) men under the name Eternal Fraternal Order of the Legion Konsortium (EFOLK). Their maxim is “debt na debt”, their member unleash mayhem at the slightest provocation. Shortly, after their formation in 1983, they founded Deebam, their street affiliate. “Deebam” is KK communication code, which means “be strong”.

Things Fall Apart

Like the title of Professor Chinua Achebe’s first novel, Things Fall Apart (1958), the 2003 low-intensity arms struggle called elections came and is gone but left behind its trails of negative tales to tell. Kenneth Kobani who was appointed in the later part of Odili’s first tenure to occupy the position of Rivers State Commissioner of Finance after serving as commissioner for commerce; and Pidomson Jnr, became “Honourable” member, representing Gokana constituency in the Rivers State House of Assembly.

Pidomson Jnr. wants to return to the house, because it is rumored in the PDP in the state that, PDP might zone the speakership seat to Ogoni, and Pidomson wants to take it at all costs. Hence, his intense strengthening, massive recruitment and funding of his foot soldiers (Deewell) for the task ahead. The current chairman of Gokana Local Government Council, Chief Fred Barivule Kpakol who is serving his second term as chairman of the council, also wants to occupy Pidomson office as member of the Rivers State House of assembly come 2007. They are all of the PDP. They youngman (Kpakol) who is in his early 40s too, is the younger brother of Dr. Magnus Kpokol, former Economic, Adviser to president Olusegun Obasanjo and now head of National Poverty Alleviation Program (NAPEP) in the presidency. As movement towards 2007 intensified, Kpakol has also constituted his army too, they are called The Gberesaakoo Boys (GB) 8 Kpakol is not from Bodo. He hails from B-Dere, a neighbouring village of Bodo. So, Pidomson and Kpakol are political rivals, though in 2003 they worked together, to ensure the victory of the PDP in the area

Kenneth Kobani, political ambition is not yet know, some of his aides who spoke to this researcher said he wants to control PDP, some said he wants to contest for the position of the Federal House of Representative. Some said senate and some said he wants to be the next Deputy Governor of Rivers State.

The analysis is that, if Pidomson will go to the house again, it means that no person will occupy any elective position again apart from counselors, from Bodo. However, Kobani doesn’t want Pidomson to take the Bodo slot. He (Kobani) is now working with other forces such as the Gberesaakoo Boys of Kpakol and the Deebam to scuttle that ambition. Pidomson who also belong to a cabal in PDP membered by Hon. Olaka Wogu, a member of Federal House of Representative, Chief Austin Opara, Deputy Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives and others to advance their selfish political agenda.

Comrades, No More!

In April 2005, Hon. Kenneth Kobani, Odili’s Finance Commissioner, as a reward for the foot soldiers (thugs) who fought for their electoral victory in Bodo, and Gokana bought hundreds of motorbikes, popularly called Okada in Nigeria. To be distributed among the Deebam and Deewell, elements in Bodo and other Gokana villages, which rigged election in the country for the PDP. The Pidomson’s Deewell and JVC allegedly feel cheated in the sharing of these “dividends of democracy” (motorbikes). They later accused Kenneth Kobani of sharing it to only to Deebam cultists, while the Deewell were sidelined. A Squabble started over the sharing of the Okadas. In June 2003, the quarrel degenerated into a violent one and the Deebam launched a war. Mr. Son Vidoo, popularly called “Gowon” by his Deewell comrades was macheted to death, and his corpse deposited at the entrance to Kenneth Kobani’s country-home in Bodo. Inside sources told our researcher that the late Vidoo was in Vikintical code, an Axeman (intelligent officer) of the Deewell in Bodo.

In retaliation, Deebam’s “Baba (BB)” in KK’s code, meaning Boss, (Mr. Boniface Paago), was matcheted too. Two of his fingers were cut off and also sustained deep machete cuts on his body. That was the beginning of the war of attrition. The Deewell later declared total war on all Deebam in the community. The Deebam were later driven from Bodo. Kenneth Kobani reportedly spent over $3,000 in treating Boniface Paago. He provided accommodation for many of the Deebam exiles in Port Harcourt and housed some of them (Deebam) in his palatial house in G.R.A, Port Harcourt that was bombed recently by his suspected political rival(s) Grenades were detonated to the building and several cars and parts of the building were destroyed.

Deebam and Deewell Clashed outside Bodo

In September 2005, on the northern axis of Bodo, at Gbe, a small rural village in the Gokana Local Government area of Ogoni, Rivers State as a fall out of the Deebam/Deewell conflict in Bodo, clashed at a burial event of a prominent member of the community9. Two Deebam members from Bodo, one of them, a nephew of Kenneth Kobani lost his life. According to newspaper reports, the burial activities have reached its peak in the early hours of the morning around 2.00am, when a minor argument occurred between 2 members of Deebam and Deewell. It resulted into crisis and a shoot out ensued between the two some notorious gangs and 9 person (all cultists) lost their lives in a fierce gun battle. During the Deebam’s operations, they drink Chelsea, the alcoholic spirit and also take all sort of hard drugs mostly, Indian hemp their counterpart also drink Chelsea’s equivalent, called Squadron. The aim is to boost their morale during their violent campaigns. Any member of this community who drinks either Chelsea or Squadron without belonging to any of the cult group is attacked. In the community like other parts of Rivers State and beyond where these groups exist are doesn’t drink or sell them.

Blood Flows As Deebam Returns To Base

On Wednesday, July 19, 2006, the uneasy calm that reigned in Bodo since the exile of the Deebam was shattered, as in the early hours of that morning, the Deebam staged a war to return to their base (Bodo). Eyewitnesses told our researcher that the Deebam members arrived the communities around 2.00 am when the atmosphere was still blinded with patches of darkness. They were said to have arrived with several other Deebam members who are also non Ogoni, but come from Ikwerre, Ijaw and other areas that have witness similar violence around Rivers State. they were also said to have arrived with a an old man who is a voodoo (juju) priest from one of the Ogoni villages and hundreds of bullet two loaded in two wheelbarrow. They were fully armed with AK 47, sub-machine guns, long swords, charms and amulets tied to their wrists and incision on their bodies. As they arrived after several fetish sacrifices were performed, before they went after their unsuspecting Deewell rivals.

After the end of the operation which woke the community up from ominous slumber, the following were killed. Several of their corpses dumped in drinking water wells in the sprawling community. Those Deewell cultists killed are:

(1) Sinebari Vidume
(2) Raphael Akpee, a top commander of Deewell in the community
(3) Sinebari Deebee
(4) Temple Lucky Koli
(5) Biima Kootee
(6) Douglas Aanu Zabbey
(7) The 7th person was said to be a girlfriend of Raphael Akpee, she is said to be an Igbo girl. Her whereabouts is still unknown. All those killed above except the girl are all Deewell. The attack on Deewell positions and members occurred at a time when Hon. Pidomson, Gabriel Jnr, their sponsor went on the usual Rivers State House of assembly members holiday abroad. (He was in the United States when his boys (Deewell) were slaughtered. On hearing about the crisis, he cuts short his journey and returned to Nigeria.

A week after the clash, Pidomson and Kobani were summoned to the town square in Bodo for peace talk. Chief Fred Kpakol who is also accused of funding the Deebam’s operation in Bodo moderated the peace meeting. While Ledum mitee, the president of the Movement for Survival of the Ogoni (MOSOP), Mr. Magnus Abe, Odili information commissioner, Hon. Kenneth Kobani, Odili Commissioner of Finance and Hon. Pidomson Brother Pidomson, Jnr, amongst numerous others, were present. While, Kobani in his speech, openly denied any link with the Deebam, Pidomson was quoted to have said, “I am still mourning. Even just yesterday one (Deewell member) that was shot died again

An unending Macabre Dance?

On Saturday, July 29, 2006, worried by the senseless killings and show of raw violence by these cults (gangs) in the once peaceful and populous Ogoni community. The Bodo council of Chiefs in conjunction with the community’s vigilante called (Gbovinkodor) summoned the two warring groups for a truce, at the Bodo town square. They were warned not to carry any kind of arms by the convener (Bodo council of chief and Gbovinkodor) of the meeting. The kobani’s Deebam arrived at the meeting venue at 8.00am without their usual sophisticated weaponry, but the Pidomson’s Deewell came in with many AK 47s and opened fire on Deebam boys just as the meeting was about to commence. There was pandemonium and villagers and chiefs ran for safety as gun bark and bite ferociously. At the end of the shooting spree, the following laid lifeless on the floor. They are:

1. Aagbara Agava, a boy in his mid 20s, and strictly in KK (Deebam) terminology was said to be an “Agbo”, one who keeps the Deebam weapons of war. He was shot on his back and he died of bullet wounds on his way to hospital. His corpse has been deposited at the Bodo-City General Hospital.

2. One Friday, another Deebam member popular called “FRIYO” was shot dead and dragged on the group by Deewell cultists, while his intestine fell out on the ground. He was later abandoned. He was also in his mid 20s too.

While, Mr. Dornubari Nkpee, a man in his early 50s, an innocent man who neither belong nor support any of the cult groups, was on his way to fishing when he was hit by cultists’ stray bullet. He is receiving treatment in hospital outside the community. Many Deebam members also suffered several gun injuries.

Is Peace in Sight?

The recent killings have heightened tension again in the community. On Sunday, July 30, 2006, a day after the latest killings of Deebam members, Hon. Pidomson Jnr. Paid an unscheduled visit to section of the community closer to where the Deebam boys are camped called Ashawo market. To see Mr. Felix Zorbiradee, the principal of St. Pius X College, Bodo, who was recently appointed as a peace negotiator by the community. While he was there with Mr. Zorbiradee, information leaked to the Deebam that Pidomson was there. The driver of the black jeep that brought Pidomson drove away when he saw 3 motorbikes carry Deebam boys wielding sub-machine guns and AK47, he left Pidomson behind.

When Pidomson sensed troubled, he escaped into a mud house of an old woman called Mrs. Maloo. A woman in her mid 60s, poor Maloo will ever abide by the popular Bodo maxim that, “you don’t sent a strange away no matter the evil the stranger has committed when such person runs into your house”. There was tension, as Deebam chanted “Asawana” 10 they sang war songs passionately; the song goes, “who can battle with the Deebam (2 times). I say no body (2 times)”. With the help of some sympathic residents, Pidomson was smuggled out of the dangers zone unhurt, the Deebam later swung into action, and shot indiscriminately. They later vented their anger on the old woman’s door. They destroyed the entire door.

Pidomson later mobilized over 50 regular and mobile policemen to the area, who later invaded the area and arrested two innocent persons, who our researcher discovered don’t belong to any cult group. They are Kadubari Ngio and one Blessing. They are still held at the division police headquarter at Kpor, the headquarters of Gokana Local Government Area.

Will peace return soon? The struggle for political supremacy and relevance has polarized the Bodo community. The paramount ruler of Bodo, Chief Felix Sunday Berebon (Menebon Bodo (Vii) born on 1975 and some of his chiefs and some elites are accused of being on the payroll of Kenneth Kobani (“Asawana”, is an Ijaw battle cry which militants in the Delta region of Nigeria use during their rallies and violent agitations. The word is just exclamatory.
11. Deebam members who spoke to our researcher revealed this.)

While, the deputy paramount ruler of Bodo, Chief Barisi Kootee, the (Laboon) of Bodo, some chiefs, are also alleged to be on the payroll of Hon. Gabriel Pidomson Jnr.12 Also, there are some members of the community who are neutral and don’t want to be dragged into the Kobani or pidomson’s controversy.

The Deewell is camped at Pidomson’s compound at No 32, Porobunu Road in Bodo where illegal land mines are built around the entire compound. Pidomson, Snr. a former Biafran war veteran and father of Hon. Pidomson Jnr built the landmine. While, Kobani’s Deebam are camped at Bookolekari, on the outskirts of the town where they built a tent and camped

What Is The Nigerian Police Up To?

The Nigerian Police have a division headquarters at Kpor, which division is supposed to oversee all the Gokana villages. Bodo is just few kilometers from Kpor. The police at Kpor told our researcher on Saturday, July 22, 2006, that there was peace in Bodo and nothing violent has happened, contrary to what people are saying that there are crises in the community. Also, on Saturday July 29, 2006, local and international journalists who interviewed the police at the Rivers State police headquarters in Port Harcourt quoted the police to have said that they are not aware of any killings or violence in Bodo 13. Our researcher also discovered that like other politicians in Gokana and other places in Nigeria do, the Bodo politicians (Kobani and Pidomson) give bribe regularly to the police in Kpor and at the headquarters for the Police to protect them at a time like this.

The police there, are quite conversant with the situation in Bodo, and are merely protecting the bribes they take from these violent politicians. When the killings get to its peak they will visit Bodo and arrest innocent residents

Refugee Crisis Heightens

Since the resurgence of the crises, both politicians (Kobani and Pidomson) have moved their families and relatives out of the community for fear of reprisals. Some who have relations in other cities in Nigeria, have moved to join them, while, those who don’t have, either migrate to other neighbouring Ogoni villages or those who can’t move, remain and sleep in churches in the community every night since the crisis began. Economic activities were also affected as shops and markets are closed as frightened villagers remained in doors all day.

“If they start shooting again, we shall pack out luggage and camp at Kpor police station or move to government house in Port Harcourt because they cause this problem” 15.

Taming The Crazy Gangs

For peace to return, the 2 sponsors of the gangs, Kobani and Pidomson must withdraw their support for these misguided cultists and criminals and withdraw the illegal arms and ammunitions in these illegal hands. In most case, after shooting, the cultists will pick the empty bullet cases, perhaps, somebody have advised them to do so, to avoid identification of the sources of the ammunitions. The Bodo gangs need to be disarmed and rehabilitated and their sponsors also need to face the law, so, as to serve as a deterrent to others. Investigations revealed that a lot of these gang members are in organized crime, and if eventually, they Bodo crises end, and the dangerous small Arms and light weapons (SALW) are not mopped, crime rate will heighten in the community and beyond.

In Nigeria, the law is made for the powerless and poor and not the rich crooked politicians of our time. The police need to be honest, transparent and law abiding and do their work and not to protect anyone who can brides them.

Guns Every Where

In conclusion, the Bodo tragedy is not an isolated case, as 2007 draw closer the various parts of the states will be witnessing scenes similar to that of Bodo. Because dangerous weapon, which are linked to the state government and their security agencies, are out of control and no one is safe

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