The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has cried out over the massive military attacks in the Ijaw nation.
IYC claims that many people are being killed by the military for no just cause . The group calls on the international community to look into the killings within the Ijaw nation In a statement made on Tuesday, May 31, IYC worldwide said it wishes to alert the world of the massive military and genocidal attacks against the Ijaw people and communities of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. The IYC claims the Nigerian army is killing indiscriminately within the Ijaw nation. According to the group, from Monday, May 30, till the early hours of today, May 31, there have been massive military attacks against innocent Ijaw communities and peoples from Gbaramatu to Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdoms in Delta state to Southern Ijaw, Nembe, Brass and some other local government areas of Bayelsa state. IYC said that in Gbaramatu, Delta state the people especially women and children are in serious danger of mass death if they are not rescued from the rampaging military officers.
Most people that ran into the bush in Oporoza, Kurutie, Kunukunuma, Kokodiagbene and some other villagers and communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta state are yet to be seen. This is in addition to the famish condition arising from the no in and out movement order placed in Gbaramatu Kingdom by the military.
A lot of parents in Gbaramatu do not know the whereabouts of their children and vice versa. In parts of Ogbe-Ijoh, especially the Naifor Island (Opposite Warri), the Navy throughout the night of May 30th to May 31st, shot sporadically into the communities and in the process, a couple (Mr and Mrs Tiemo) were critically wounded. Ironically this couple only recently ran to Naifor Island to escape the military onslaught. The villagers in desperation took the critically injured couple to the Navy base where they left them for the Navy to do whatever they want to do with the couple. The state of this couple from Ayakoromo Community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State is still unknown at the time of issuing this statement.
Naifor Island, Ogbe-Ijoh is just opposite the Navy barracks and the IYC do not see any justification why the Navy would be practicing their shooting skills with the lives of the innocent Ijaw villagers. The IYC recalled a similar incident a few months ago at the start of the renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta region in the same community. The group claims that there is no oil facility in Naifor Island, Ogbe-Ijoh and none is close to the community. Therefore, there is no singular justification why the Navy has decided to use that particular community as its main target to justify the huge sum of money allocated to them to find the Avengers. IYC asked why the Navy refused to trace the Avengers to where they are destroying oil facilities instead of killing innocent people and putting the entire community under fear. There is now mass movement of people out of the community for fear of attack.4 According to the group, the story is not different in most parts of Bayelsa state where war boats and fighter jets have been deployed to different communities and the people are now living in fear. The IYC said it is not against the military going after the Avengers, but state that the innocent Ijaw people and communities should not be made to pay for sins they know nothing about. These innocent villagers they (IYC) claims bear the brunt of the decades of oil exploitation and degradation and when there is military action against people who have tampered with oil facilities they are the victims as well.
“This is unacceptable and we condemn this unprofessional military operation and massive attack against Ijaw people. “The IYC make bold to state that President Buhari’s led administration has a plan to commit genocide against Ijaw people. “There is no basis for the massive onslaught against the innocent Ijaw people and communities. “It has never happened anywhere in the world for innocent people to be held responsible for crimes they know nothing about. “The Nigerian people, the United Nations and the entire world should take note of this ongoing killing of innocent Ijaw people and violations of human rights against the Ijaw people of the Niger Delta region,” IYC said. The IYC also criticised the presence of the fighter jets in the creeks. Udens Eradiri, the president of the council, said the tactic of intimidation will have no positive result. Eradiri said: “Ijaw people are peaceful people. Ijaw people are not avengers. These jets flying around Yenagoa and Gbaramatu, the avengers are not in these places. We just hope that they were just passing. But if it is hovering around, it means that something is about to happen. “The military should use more of intelligence so that you don’t go around destroying communities. We call on the military to withdraw its tactic of intimidation in Ijaw land. “Jet fighters will not solve the problem. The economy is in a terrible forecast and we must do everything to save it. We are at the receiving end of the activities of these militants. Why are we also being intimidated.” He further urged President Muhammadu Buhari to review his government’s stand on its continuous issuance of threat and using army might against the militants, rather it should go to the creeks and dialogue with them.
Meanwhile, the federal government, yesterday, deployed an armada of five warships, 100 gunboats and fighter jets to the creeks of the Niger Delta, in response to continued bombing of oil and gas pipelines by Niger Delta Avengers, NDA.
This heightened tension in the coastal communities of Southern Ijaw Local Government Area, even as helicopter gunships were seen hovering at low altitude in the predominantly riverine council.
Niger Delta Avengers: FG deploys 5 warships, 100 gunboats, fighter jets to Delta creeks
It was gathered that while the Airforce deployed the fighter jets and helicopter gunships, the Army swooped on four more Ijaw communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State, for the militants.
Bayelsa travellers from the hinterland, confirmed the large military presence in the tricky mangrove swamp of the council, which at the height of youth militancy, had the largest concentration of militant camps in the Delta.
“There is a massive security operation going on in the area. Fighter jets and helicopter gunships have been hovering around the airspace at low level, apparently on surveillance mission. Many of the natives are worried about the development,” said Ayebatari, an indigene of the area.
However, an Agip source told Vanguard that the company had, amid tight security, commenced repair of the damaged section of Tebidaba-Brass delivery line destroyed on Sunday by militants.
“Yes, the repair work is being done under the radar,” he said in reference to the aerial coverage by the military.
Meanwhile, the invasion of Ijaw communities, which started about 1.52a.m., on Saturday, with the take-over of Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of the kingdom and Kurutie, also known as “Little London,” the country home of ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, Okerenkoko, Kokodigbane and Benikrukru, yesterday, has caused food crisis in Gbaramatu clan.
Residents, who fled Oporoza, three days ago to the neighbouring Azama community, are famished, as they had not eaten for the period, while soldiers were reportedly not allowing them to return to the community to look for food and pick their clothes.
The traditional ruler of Gbaramatu kingdom, HRM Williams Ogboba, Oboro Gbaraun II, narrated the ordeal of the people when the Special Adviser to the President on Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Brigadier-General Paul Boroh (retd), visited him at his palace in Oporoza, Delta State, on Sunday.
He said he was under house arrest and had not taken his bath since soldiers invaded his kingdom, while his subjects in Oporoza had all fled.
Commander, NNS Delta, Commodore Raimi Mohammed, confirmed, yesterday, that the security agencies were now working in synergy to rout the Avengers.
He said: “We (Navy) use helicopter. If you spot it, you will clearly identify it as belonging to us. You see Navy written on it. The jet fighters and surveillance craft were deployed by Air Force to watch over the high risk areas against activities of the oil assets vandals and anyone else involved in criminality in the area.
“There is now strengthened synergy among the security agencies to stop this vandalism. The synergy is there. I will advise those involved to steer clear and employ peaceful ways of agitating and engaging their minds.”
The fighter jets and surveillance aircraft were also seen flying around communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom and Ogulagha area in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State about 10a.m.
Ijaw leader, Chief Godspower Gbenekama, and Public Relations Officer of Oporoza Youth Executive, Paul Kirifade, confirmed the movement of the jet fighters and aircraft in the communities.