The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, has condemned the killings of four persons during a military invasion of Oluasiri community in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
During the incident, which occurred last Thursday, a mother and her six-month-old baby, as well as two other persons were reportedly killed by soldiers during a security operation.
It was learnt that the military operation was launched to dislodge suspected militants and sea pirates allegedly hiding in Oluasiri community.
While some security personnel claimed the soldiers opened fire into the community following gunshot attacks from the suspected militants, the indigenes of Oluasiri community debunked the claim, insisting that the military attack was unprovoked.
Reacting to the killings, the Chairman, IYC, Central Zone, Mr. Tare Porri, said the invasion was a provocative action by the military, alleging that the development confirmed the suspicion that the military is sectional and biased.
He said the military was determined only to wage war against the people of the Niger Delta, the Ijaw people, all in a bid to control the region’s oil, sustain Nigeria’s unjust unitary structure and resist calls for restructuring.
Porri said the invasion of Oluasiri community would heighten tensions in the region and could potentially lead to “a full-blown siege” capable of destabilising the country and the already existing peace created by Governor Seriake Dickson.
He said, “The military has insulted us to provoke war in our land. We call on the Federal Government to apologise without delay for this infantile act of deliberate provocation.
“This wanton act is an action against the laws of human rights and a threat to democracy. We kick against the logic of civility in a supposed free society to deploy overwhelming weapons and personnel of warfare against a peaceful community within the ambit of non-violence.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, must be held accountable for the military’s actions. There could be no justifiable excuses why soldiers would invade and murder an innocent baby and others.”
Porri urged the military to desist from further attempts at muzzling Ijaw people, through acts of premeditated assault or intimidation of communities.
He, therefore, called on the military to investigate the incident and compensate the victims for the loss, medical expenses and for the destruction of their personal properties.
The IYC leader said the body would not sit idle on this issue, stressing that the council had begun a series of campaigns to ensure justice.
He noted that the international community should hold the military responsible if there is a breakdown of law and order in the country due to the military’s activities in the Niger Delta.
Porri added, “We also call on our youths to stop perpetrating crimes and criminalities in our communities.
“We heartily sympathise with the bereaved and give our full assurance to the people of Oluasiri that this invasion would not go unpunished.”