Ijaw elders, group seek end to military attacks on communities
Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF), Lagos State chapter and some Ijaw groups have condemned the recent military attack on Bilabiri community in Ekeremor Local Government of Bayelsa State, describing the loss of lives and property by innocent citizens as barbaric and unnecessary.
In a statement jointly signed by its Chairman, Chief Bukazi Etete; Vice Chairman, Atamuno Atamuno; Secretary, Pastor Efiye Bribena; Mr Charles Ambaiowei, former Acting President, Ijaw National Congress; Ben Amaebi Okoro, Moderator, Ijaw Nation Forum; High Chief Denzil Amagbe Kentebe, a former Executive Secretary (NCDMB); Prof. Dauphin D. Moro, Convener, Niger Delta Environmental Vanguard, the groups noted with dismay the incessant attacks on Ijaw communities under successive governments, as well as environmental degradations they have had to grapple with as a result of oil exploration.
“Times without number, Ijaw communities have been unjustifiably attacked and destroyed by the Nigerian State that is expected to build and nurture them. The latest being Bilabiri community in Ekeremor Local Government of Bayelsa State. Admittedly, criminal activities take place by a few individuals in Ijaw land, as in other parts of the country. This, however, should not and cannot justify the barbaric destruction of entire communities.
“We strongly condemn these acts of violence and brutality perpetuated against our people and communities. We cannot continue to endure this oppressive state of affairs and the continued destruction of our people and communities.
“The experience of the Ijaw people under the Nigerian State in the past 59 years has been most unpalatable and dehumanising to say the least. The Nigerian State continues to plunder our resources without consideration for our people and environment.”
The group blamed the escalating security situation on perceived lopsided security architecture of the country, insisting that only a restructuring can guarantee continued peace and stability.
In view of the insecurity across the geo-political zones, the elders threw their weight behind the South sest security outfit codenamed Operation Amoketun, urging stakeholders in the South-South to come up with similar initiative.