Delta community protests raid by soldiers
• Gov moves against pipeline vandalism
• ‘Jonathan didn’t create Avengers’
Worried about the persistent ‘invasion’ of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Delta State by combat-ready soldiers allegedly searching for members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), the traditional ruler, Pere Oboro-Gbaraun II, has protested to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
The monarch alleged persistent harassment of his subjects by armed soldiers in several gunboats allegedly in search of the Avengers believed to be behind attacks on oil facilities in Warri South West Council of the state.
The traditional ruler, according to palace sources, said: “Gbaramatu Kingdom is now treated like a conquered territory by soldiers who enter the community at will without notifying the residents or the king.”
The Guardian gathered yesterday that the worried monarch who was reportedly snubbed on Saturday morning by the invading troops who ransacked Oporoza and Kokodiagbene settlements, sent a delegation to government to come to their rescue. The king was said to have sent emissaries to invite the leader of the soldiers for a discussion but was allegedly turned down.
The Guardian was told that the latest delegation makes it the second to the state government on the issue. It was further learnt that the protest may have informed the setting up last weekend of an Advocacy Committee headed by the Deputy Governor, Kingsley Otuaro, to tackle pipeline vandalism in the state.
The committee was ordered to proceed immediately to the riverine areas of the state, especially the troubled Gbaramatu Kingdom to interact with the people and sensitise them on the need to stop destruction of oil facilities.
The panel is to also unravel the immediate and remote causes of resurgence of militancy and create platforms for dialogue and resolution of identified grievances.
Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has exonerated former President Goodluck Jonathan from the formation of the new militant group.
An ex-militant leader, Israel Akpodoro, who claimed to be the National President of National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators, had at the weekend alleged that Jonathan was behind the group.
But the IYC, in a statement yesterday in Yenagoa by its spokesman, Comrade Eric Omare, described the accuser as an unknown ex-militant with no pedigree in the Niger Delta region.
“The allegation that the Niger Delta Avengers was formed by Jonathan in a meeting he attended in January 2015 preparatory to the 2015 general elections to make the country ungovernable for his successor is absolutely untrue. It is nonsensical to imagine that former President Jonathan who conceded defeat and congratulated his opponent even before the final result was announced would make such a plan.
“In the first place, the January 2015 meeting of ex-agitators and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region was not attended by Jonathan and the meeting never resolved to make Nigeria ungovernable for President Buhari,” Omare added.