Nigeria

Group: Politicians, traditional rulers responsible for military invasions of Ijaw communities

Niger Delta Rights group known as the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative (IPDI), has accused Ijaw political leaders and traditional rulers as being responsible for the incessant military invasions in Ijaw communities.

The group made the accusation via a statement issued on Saturday by its national president, Comr. Austin Ozobo and made available to newsmen in Warri.

The group while condemning the invasion and burning of Letugbene community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, insisted that political leaders and traditional rulers in the Ekeremor were afraid to speak out, that was why military invasions and burning of Ijaw communities were at its increase.

While alleging that the story is same in almost all other Ijaw communities in the Niger Delta region, Austin added, “We were taken aback by another unsavory military invasion of Letugbene community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa state where over 15 houses were burnt down, when we are yet to be resuscitated from the shock of the burning and high level of destruction in Bilabiri community orchestrated by Nigerian soldiers.

“Our political leaders and traditional rulers in Ekeremor have failed. Their incompetence is what is giving the military a privilege to burn our communities’ everyday.

Their inabilities to speak out and engage the military authorities are the reasons why the military still have the impetus today to invade and burn our communities.

“In as much as we do not support the killing of innocent soldiers on national assignments, we equally frown at the military invasions and burning of peace loving Ijaw communities because of one criminal activities in the area.

“We have emphasised severally that the military should be professional in their activities. Burning of people’s abode in every slightest provocation is evil and criminal.

“We learnt that over 15 houses has been razed and other households were destroyed. Residents scamper for safety. A lot of children and adults are still missing. We are disappointed at the military lawlessness. Despite the Boko Haram menace in the North East Communities, no one community has been burnt down.

“The military’s activities have posed a big threat to our existence as a people. We call on all well meaning Ijaw leaders to condemn these barbaric activities. We want the burnt houses rebuilt and other properties destroyed compensated,” the statement read in part.

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