Fresh details emerged on Monday as to the refusal of President Goodluck to adopt the Odi option in dealing with the Boko Haram insurgency which has ravaged parts of the North and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.
Details pieced together by the Nigerian Tribune from some hitherto classified documents indicate that President Jonathan relied on certain reports put together by security agencies and independent bodies to reach his conclusion.
It was confirmed that besides the personal experience of Jonathan as Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State when the Odi massacre happened, he also had access to some reports of reputable bodies including the Amnesty International and the Port-Harcourt-based Environmental Rights Action (ERA), which monitored the Odi situation.
Sources close to the government said that the president concluded when he got reports on some suggested ways forward on the Boko Haram insurgency that the nation should not be taken through the path of genocide.
The sources further indicated that one of the options on the cards was to unleash full military operations in Borno State in the bid to curtail Boko Haram activities, but that the president opted for an intelligence-based approach.
According to the sources, reports at the disposal of the president especially on the Odi massacre indicated that no fewer than 2,000 persons, mainly women, youths and children were killed.
“When the military invaded Odi in Bayelsa State on November 20, 1999, independent agencies and reputable human rights bodies counted 2,184 bodies lying in the demolished and bombed houses in the town. The majority of them were women, children and the aged. It was genocide in all ramifications and the president has decided not to inflict that kind of attack on the people of Borno in trying to fight Boko Haram,” a source in the know said.
The source further said that none of the militants was killed in the operation and that the leader of the group that murdered the soldiers, one Ken Niweigha, only relocated from Bayelsa to Delta creeks.