By Davies Iheamnachor & Mercy Oguji
PORT HARCOURT—Ijaw Youth Congress, IYC, has apologised to the Nigerian military for the casualties it recorded in the Niger Delta region in the course of the ongoing Operation Crocodile Smile.
IYC, yesterday, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, while briefing newsmen on the happenings in the oil-rich region and the state of Nigeria’s economy, noted that it was appropriate for the body to apologise to the military, adding that the military was in the operation to rid the area of crime.
Speaking after the National Executive Council meeting of the body, its National President, Mr. Elvis Donkemezuo, commended the military and the Chief of Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Buratai, for introducing the ongoing operation in the area, adding that piracy and criminality were high in the region.
He stated that the operation was to rid the region of criminal elements, adding that criminality in the creeks and waterways in recent times was on the increase.
Donkemezuo said: “We want to commend the military for operation Crocodile Smile. We understand that Niger Delta is faced with series of piracy attacks. A fortnight ego, soldiers were attacked in some creeks in Nembe. No government will fold it arms and allow its military to be attacked by any criminal group. It is not in the style of Ijaw people. We are a unique people.
“We sympathise and express our sincere apologies to the military on the casualties they suffered in the Niger Delta in a bid to secure the Nigerian state, the region and the oil facilities.”
The youth leader, while urging the military to ensure they adhere to the rules of engagement in their operations, also charged residents of Niger Delta to give the military the needed support to succeed in the operation.