The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) on Friday condemned the rising insecurity in the Niger Delta region and expressed regret about the loss of both military and civilian lives.
In a statement issued by spokesman Eric Omare in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, the group warned that the insecurity in the region is getting out of control, and urged President Muhammad Buhari to personally take over the Niger Delta peace process to ensure the rapid return of peace.
The group also passionately called on the Niger Delta Avengers and other militant groups and individuals to give peace a chance, noting that violence has never solved problems anywhere in the world.
“The federal, state governments and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region should be given the opportunity to look at the issues at stake,” the statement said, adding that the continuous bombing of oil facilities and killings is not in the interest of the Niger Delta region and people.
"Aggrieved groups must give peace a chance," it stressed.
The IYC described as “condemnable and regrettable,” the reported cases of attacks and killing of soldiers, civilians working in houseboats and attacks on oil facilities in Ogbeinbiri, Bayelsa State and Forcados Export line in Delta.
According to the group, the civilians killed in the house boat were mainly Ijaw youths and included Tombra DavidIwoubebi and Anita Demedongha from Odimodi Community, Burutu Local GovernmentArea of Delta.
"We in strong words condemn this senseless killing of soldiers and civilians that were working in the houseboat. We condemn this act of wickedness would only complicate an already delicate security situation,” IYC said, calling for a bi-partisan stakeholders’ effort to bring the fast deteriorating security situation under control.
"The situation requires the direct involvement of President Buhari,” the group said. “The events of the last few days have clearly shown that those mandated to lead the peace process have failed to produce the desired result.”
The group also called on the governors of the Niger Delta states to collaborate and galvanize stakeholders in the region to quickly start the process to return peace to the Niger Delta region.
It also called on political leaders to rise above party and political affiliation to save the Niger Delta region as well as the Nigerian economy from total collapse.
"The events that are happening in the region pose serious economic, environmental and security challenges to the entire nation,” it pointed out, reiterating its readiness and commitment to work with relevant stakeholders to restore peace while at the same time addressing the issues affecting the region.