The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has condemned the nefarious activities of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), a new militant group active in the Niger Delta region.
The IYC spokesman, Eric Omare, said in an interview on Monday that his group does not see the justification for the group’s decision to destroy oil facilities and wreak havoc on the region's environment.
He appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to go after the real culprits and not the innocent communities and people in the region in his government's efforts to unmask the characters behind the new militant group.
The Niger Delta Avengers have claimed responsibility for the recent attacks on the SPDC platform in Forcados, the Chevron Okan platform in Abiteye in Escravos, and the pipelines transporting crude oil to the Warri and Kaduna refineries.
Sources from the president’s office said over the weekend that the federal government has set in motion a mechanism to uncover those behind the activities and has given a specific directive to the military to prevent the return of militancy in the region.
"We do not see the justification in the Niger Delta Avengers embarking on the destruction of oil facilities because Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, denounced the group,” Mr. Omare said.
“I think Tompolo did the proper thing by coming out to inform the entire world that he was not part of the NDA when there were insinuations to the effect that he was behind them.”
Mr. Omare pointed out that as in previous assaults on oil facilities, the Niger Delta environment and people are the ultimate victims and would suffer from these latest attacks.
“The IYC believes that irrespective of their grievances, there are better ways of expressing them rather than contributing to the further destruction of the already massively degraded Niger Delta environment," he pleaded.
On the government’s threat to crush the militants, Mr. Omare urged security agencies to not use the attacks as a justification to attack innocent civilians in the community.
He stated that from experience, the security personnel, in bids to impress their superiors and justify the huge amounts of money budgeted for their purpose, always attack the innocent.
"This must not be allowed to happen this time around,” Mr. Omare said.
“We would also advise the federal government to be prompt in directing security agencies to deal with insurgent groups all over the country, including the Fulani herdsmen who have been killing innocent Nigerians, just like they have just directed in respect of the Niger Delta Avengers."