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20,000 Ijaw villagers under siege by soldiers, says group

Emma Amaize
WARRI- IJAW Youths Welfare Association, IYWA, has alerted the United Nations that over 20,000 residents of 11 communities in Burutu and Bomadi Local Government Areas of Delta State have been under siege by soldiers, deployed by the Joint Task Force, JTF, on the Niger-Delta, to their homelands for upwards one month in the search for wanted militant leader, “General” John Togo.

In an open letter to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, signed by its president, Comrade Augustine Okporu and others, the group said, “Currently, more than eleven densely populated communities constituting of over 20,000 people are under siege by the occupational Nigerian Armed Forces, in the guise of fishing out criminal elements in the Niger Delta, specifically in Burutu and Bomadi Local Government Areas of Delta State”.

“Worse still”, the group stated, “the said military outfit in the Niger Delta Region known as “Joint Task Force” (JTF), code-named: Operation Restore Hope has declared economic war on those communities by blocking their source of livelihood or contact with neighbouring communities/tribes in Bayelsa and Delta States of Nigeria.  These petrifying maelstroms the people are facing have put them in acute hunger leading to the death of over 100 persons mostly women, children and aged ones and several others are contacted with different kinds of killer diseases”.

Its words, “In view of the foregoing and the attendant deadly actions of the Nigerian Government on the oil-rich but the most impoverished region in the world, we deem it fit to alert your esteemed office to take urgent action in order to safeguard lives and properties in this annexed and annihilated territory in Nigeria”.

“Your timely intervention could avert any avoidable bloodshed in the region that may affect world peace. Please, order the government of Nigeria to stop her merciless massacre of the hapless people of the Niger Delta. It has become part of Nigerian government policy that for any government to complete its tenure, it must destroy or massacre one or more conquered Ijaw communities in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria.

“Our existence cannot be guaranteed and protected by the invading and parasitic Nigerian government whose interest is to see that the region is entirely eliminated from planet earth for reason of an unhindered oil exploration and exploitation”, it asserted.

According to the group, “We make this earnest appeal with recourse to the provisions of the adopted and proclaimed UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948”.

Recalling the activities of the task force in the region, it said, “The horrendous response by the high-handed Nigerian government has caused scores of deaths and destructions of properties worth billions of naira in the Niger Delta. In fact, over 5,000 persons have been killed and hundreds of Ijaw communities destroyed by the invading Nigerian military garrison in the Niger Delta Region. The region is now a conquered zone, an area for the Federal Government of Nigeria to test her military might”.

“The use of different calibers of weapon, ranging from biological/chemical weapon, bomber aircrafts, as well as weapons of mass destruction for land and water operations on the defenceless people with the excuse of fighting criminals without observing the internationally recommended standard, is a testimony of her evil omen for the people of Niger Delta.

“Nigeria’s colonizing Joint Task Force (JTF) has, in the past fifteen years, decimated our defenseless populations in no fewer than seventy-five (75) Ijaw villages, towns and cities.  They include: Gbaramatu, Odi, Odioma, Gbaran, Ogboinbiri, Kaiama, Ovu, Liama, Okpoama,      Obioku,Yenagoa,  Amarata, Ekeki, Opolo, Agudama, Epebu, Oluashiri, Okolobiri,     Mbiama, Azuzuama, Olodiama, Oboro, Ogodobiri, Ojobo, Peretorugbene, Warri Corner (Sandfill 1 & 2, Fenegbene ), Okerenkoko, Torugbene , Ogbudugbudu,  Ogulagha, Odimodi and Okigbene”, it further stated.

Others were  Olugbobiri, Olugboboro,  Ikebiri,  Nembe,  Twon,  Ferebaghagbene, Opia, Ikenyan, Ikokodiagbene, Oproza, Ogbe-Ijoh, Izon-Burutu ,  Ekeremor-Zion, Sagbama, Aven, Patani, Amabulu, Peremabiri, Obuama, Agge,  Fish Town, Koluama, Okrika, Bonny, Ataba, Iyak, Omelema, Otari, Degema,  Bakana,  Kula, Soku, Elem-Sangama, Opobo, Abula, Amadi-ama,  Bille, Belema,  Buguma and most recently in December 2010: Ayakoromo,  Ebeingbene,  Bobougbene,  Newtown,   Egolegbene,   Oyangbene,   Akparemogbene,   Eseimogbene,   Ekorogbene and   Yarogbene.

In the words of the group, “These are just some of the Ijaw communities that the Nigerian State has razed in recent history to keep their grip on the oil in our land.  The relentless genocidal military campaign against us, the Ijaw people, is proof of the ruthless determination of the evil and ungrateful Nigerian State to oppress and exterminate us for our God-given oil and gas resources


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