.Ijaw Youth Council

.says genocidal attacks against Ijaw ongoing

By Samuel Oyadongha, YENAGOA

THE Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has described as unacceptable the alleged ongoing military invasion and decimation of Ijaw communities by the Nigerian military under the guise of pursuing militants and oil thieves.

It lamented that no fewer than 80 communities in Ijawland including the ‘sacred Egbesu’ shrine had been desecrated in the last fifteen years.

To this end, the council has resolved to institute legal action against the military over what it described as the various human right abuses perpetrated by their men posted to the Niger Delta region in the guise of fighting illegal bunkering.

National Spokesman of the umbrella body of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, Ebilade Ekerefe, yesterday at a briefing in Yenagoa said nobody would have bothered if the military go after criminal pirates and kidnappers disturbing the waterways instead of transferring their aggression “on our defenceless people.”

His words, “The military dance, which they had tagged “the Python dance” at a point, is visiting heinous genocide and decimation on unarmed, defenceless and hapless Ijaw communities. These killings, maiming and burning down of communities by the Nigerian military at the slightest provocation of criminal elements is considered a threat to the peace and stability the region has enjoyed in recent years.

“As the umbrella body of Ijaw youths in the region which has contributed to peace and stability in our land, we have a duty to speak out and inform the general public of the ugly incidences that has become a recurrent decimal.

“We have watched with restraint, the murderous destruction of communities under the pretense of going after unrepentant militants and oil thieves. We want to place it on record that Nigeria’s colonizing Joint Task Force (JTF) has, in the past fifteen years, decimated our defenseless populations in more than eighty Ijaw villages, towns and cities for unjustifiable reasons.
“Even in the north east and the northwest where terrorists and bandits operates at will, we have not heard of the military ransacking communities in the guise of looking for terrorists. They are professional and stick to the rules of encouragement. But here in the Niger Delta, the rules are not followed. Is it because we are Ijaw people? We consider this an ethnic cleaning and it is unacceptable!

“There have been numerous instances whereby the occupation forces of the oppressive Nigerian state have indiscriminately and recklessly killed Ijaw youths traveling in boats in our waterways in the course of their routine, normal and daily socioeconomic activities.

“Whenever such heinous human rights abuses are perpetrated against our people, the Nigerian military and Nigerian government dishonourably and deceptively defend and justify their crimes against humanity by falsely claiming, with plausibility, that the killed Ijaws were militants!

“Whereas members of the Nigerian security forces who kill citizens of other ethnic extractions in other parts of the country are penalized for their human rights abuses, the Nigerian occupation forces in the Niger Delta go scot free.

“A police operation to flush out alleged miscreants must not be turned into a deliberate and calculated military onslaught to annihilate the Ijaw ethnic nationality.”

He added: “The military also desecrated worship centres in lgbomotoro 1&2 communities in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. An Egbesu (traditional worship centre) and Glorious Baptist church were not spared from these atrocious acts.

“Nobody would fault the Nigerian military if they go after criminal pirates and kidnappers disturbing the waterways in their camps and not transfer the aggression on defenceless communities in our land. There’s absolutely no justification for these heinous crimes.

“It was Igbemotoru yesterday, today it is Bille; which Ijaw community is next? We are anguished and appalled beyond description as thousands of our people have been rendered homeless and have fled into the bushes. Many have fled to other neighboring towns as refugees and nobody is saying anything about it.

“As a Council, we have collated all this evidence and shall be taking appropriate legal action against the military to put to an end these crimes against humanity.”

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