By Samuel Oyadongha
IJAW youths have described as provocative the claim by the military that the late Shooting Stars of Ibadan defender, Joseph Izu, was at the wrong place, in a cultists’ shrine when he was shot dead by soldiers.
They have thus challenged the Nigeria military to a guided tour with members of the media to the cultists’ shrine in Okarki community where late Joseph Izu was killed.
The military authorities had told newsmen in Port Harcourt that the late footballer was found in the wrong place at a cultist’s shrine, hence his extra judicial killing.
But the angry youths, under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, worldwide insisted that the deceased was not found in any cultists’ shrine but was shot dead in front of his family compound and dragged to the Okarki waterfront.
Spokesman of the IYC, Eric Omare in a statement in Yenagoa said “the attention of the council has just been drawn to the response of the military authorities to the gruesome murder of Shooting Stars of Ibadan defender, Joseph Izu and Oko Osuekina at Okarki Community.
The excuse offered by the Nigerian military is watery, provocative and insensitive to the families of those who lost their beloved ones and their community members.
“Assuming without conceding that Joseph Izu was found in a cultists’ shrine, the IYC is not aware of any Nigerian Law which empowers military officers to shoot and kill anybody found in a shrine. The reason given by the military commander is a weak effort at justifying the murder of Joseph Izu and Oko Osuikena in Okarki Community.”
To put the records straight, the IYC Spokesman said, “the late Joseph Izu was not found in any cultists’ shrine but was shot dead in front of his family compound and dragged to the Okarki waterfront.
We challenge the Nigeria military to a guided tour with members of the media to the cultists’ shrine in Okarki community where the late Joseph Izu was killed. There is no such shrine in the community as the people of Okarki are peaceful people without a record of being known for cult activities.
“To add salt to injury, the Nigerian military confirmed that military officers killed Joseph Izu and Oko Osuekina but did not even offer apology to the family of the deceased. Instead all that the military and other security agencies have been trying to do is to cover up the extra judicial killing by their officers.
“Brig. Gen. Hassan in his statement said that they are investigating what Izu was doing in the cultist shrine instead of investigating and bringing to justice the military officers who perpetrated this criminal and despicable act. In furtherance of their efforts to cover up the killing, the President of IYC, Udengs Eradiri has received several calls from security agencies accusing the IYC of trying to organize protests which would lead to breakdown of law and order.
“Once again, the IYC demand that the military officers who killed Joseph Izu and Oko Osuekina should be fished out by the military authorities and be made to face the law. The IYC would use all legally available means to get justice for Joseph Izu and Oko Osuekina and would neither be deterred nor intimidated in our quest for justice.”