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U.S. Navy shares more insights about deceased officer who renounced Nigerian citizenship

The United States Navy has shared with PREMIUM TIMES fresh insights about the service of its recently deceased officer, Oriola Michael Aregbesola, who renounced his Nigerian citizenship after his enlistment in 2020...READ THE FULL STORY HERE▶

The United States Department of Defence had announced Mr Aregbesola’s death two days after he slipped from a ship in the Red Sea.

Aged 34, the deceased died on 20 March “as a result of a non-combat related incident.”

His death, according to the department, is being investigated.

Before his death, the deceased was one of the sailors supporting operations in the Red Sea, the department revealed in a statement three days after his death.

“Aregbesola was assigned to USS Mason deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, as part of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group,” the department stated.

“Petty Officer Aregbesola fully embodied the selfless character and thoughtful warrior spirit of the United States Navy Sailor,” said Eric Kohut, a commodore and HSM-74 commanding officer. “His outstanding performance prior to and during deployment went well beyond aircraft maintenance; he truly saw and valued every member of the ship/air team. He will continue on in the heart of every Swamp Fox and our brothers and sisters in the IKE Carrier Strike Group. Our deepest thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Since the Israel-Palenstine war started last year, attacks on commercial and military ships have increased in the Red Sea where Mr Aregbesola was serving before his death.

The attacks, according to news reports, were being orchestrated by the Houthi rebels from Yemen.

Also known as Ansar Allah (supporters of God), the armed group claimed to be mainly targeting ships belonging to Israel and the U.S. , but their indiscriminate attacks have taken a toll on global food supply, according to analysts.
What U.S. Navy told us

PREMIUM TIMES mailed the U.S. Navy a week after Mr Aregbesola’s death was announced, enquiring further details about him.

But the force responded just with very brief details, reiterating the incident was being investigated.

“The incident is currently under investigation and as a matter of policy, the Navy does not discuss ongoing investigations,” Andrew Bertucci of Navy Office of Information wrote in response to our mail, yesterday.

Mr Bertucci stated that “the only information we can share about the Sailor is the attached releasable bio and our press release (released earlier on 23 March).”

According to the bio obtained from the U.S. Navy, Mr Aregbesola, based in Florida, joined the force on 22 July 2020 with his duty post described as ‘Student, Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, IL.’

Two months after, on 22 September 2020, he was dispatched to ‘Student, Naval Aviation Technical Training, Pensacola, FL’ from where he was moved to ‘Student, Naval Aviation Technical Training, Jacksonville, FL’ and lastly to ‘Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron (HSM) 74, Jacksonville, FL’ on 26 December 2020.

The deceased, before his death, bagged two awards namely: Navy Unit Commendation and Navy “E” Ribbon.
When did he leave Nigeria?

Although we could not speak with any of deceased relatives as the U.S. Navy refused to provide one, a social analysis of Mr Aregbesola’s social media accounts (Instagram and X) suggests that he left the country in 2017.

Further review suggests that he got married in Florida in 2017 and had a boy child with his wife in 2019.

“Members of the Miramar Police Department and Vice Mayor Davis, paid their respects and offered services to the family of Oriola Michael Aregbesola, U.S. Navy. He recently passed away while serving our country,” the police department posted on Facebook seven days after his death.

“He leaves behind a wife, son, and community that loves him dearly. The family was gifted with $500 in groceries, $950 in gift cards, toys for the son, and flowers. Special thanks to everyone that donated and helped to make this happen, Police Personnel, City Officials, family and community members,” the statement added.
Renouncing Nigerian Nigerian citizenship

Three months after Mr Aregbesola was enlisted into the Navy, he took to X (formerly Twitter) to renounce the citizenship of his birth country where he claimed to be jobless for years.

“I was jobless for so many years, my country of birth (Nigeria, now renounced) failed me, but the U.S. NAVY saw potentials in me and made me a fine ass sailor, working on jet engines,” he posted on 10 October, 2020, two days after #EndSARS protests began in major Nigerian cities.

The post drew as much congratulatory remarks as rebukes. Mr Aregbesola was criticised for renouncing his home country.

“You ‘renounced’ Nigeria, so move on with your life. We Nigerians are proud of our country and our heritage. We will never trade it,” an X user @TheShehus wrote.

“While congratulating you on becoming a U.S. Navy, renouncing your country and place of birth is not the way to go,” another user, Okajone advised Mr Aregbesola.

But Mr Aregbesola responded that he had to renounce his country as per “the type of job I do for the navy.”

Muhammed Zak, another X user, chided Mr Aregbesola, saying he renouncing Nigeria was a “sign of poverty of the mind.

“Boasting about renouncing ur country of birth is only a sign of poverty of the mind. Even some Americans are jobless in the US. So, I see no point in trying to make it an exclusive reserve of Nigeria but yea…Congratulations. Happy Renunciation,” Mr Zak posted.

Other comments in support and against Mr Aregbesola could be seen here.

About the author

Bunady

JOLOWO BUNALAYEFA PIUS is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BUNADY NEWSLITE GLOBAL ENTERPRISE (Bunady.com). He started his Blogging/Journalism career at God's Own Wireless Company 2012. He's a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State, with a major in History And International Studies. You can contact him for press events, advertisement promotions on Email: contact.bunady@gmail.com

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