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Nigerian Military Killing Unarmed Ijaw People Under The Guise Of Hunting Oil Thieves, Ijaw Youth Congress Alleges

September 26, 2022

The group accused the military of killing and maiming innocent and harmless children, men and women, as well as the elderly, under the pretence of going after unrepentant militants and oil thieves.

The leadership of the umbrella body of Ijaw Youths in the Niger Delta region, Ijaw Youth Congress (IYC) Worldwide, has condemned the Nigerian military's invasion and alleged genocide against Ijaw communities under the guise of hunting for oil thieves in the region.


The group accused the military of killing and maiming innocent and harmless children, men and women, as well as the elderly, under the pretence of going after unrepentant militants and oil thieves.


Speaking in a press conference over the weekend at Ijaw House Yenagoa, the National Spokesman for Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, said the military operation, which they had tagged “the Python dance” at a point, is visiting heinous genocide and decimation on unarmed, defenceless and hapless Ijaw communities.


He said, "These killings, maiming and burning down of communities by the Nigerian military at the slightest provocation of criminal elements is considered a threat to the peace and stability the region has enjoyed in recent years."


"We want to place it on record that Nigeria’s Joint Task Force (JTF) has in the past 15 years decimated our defenceless population in more than 80 Ijaw villages, towns and cities.


"The communities that have fallen victim in the past include Gbaramatu in Delta State, Odi, Odioma, Gbaran, Ogboinbiri, Kaiama, Ndoro, Liama, Okpoama, Obioku, Yenagoa, Amarata, Ekeki, Opolo, Agudama, Epebu, Oluasiri, Okolobiri, Mbiama, Azuzuama, Ologoama  Oboro, Ogodobiri, Peretorugbene, Warri Corner, Okerenkoko, Torugbene, Ogulagha, Odimodi, Okigbene, Olugbobiri, Olugboboro, Ikebiri, Nembe Town, Ferebaghagbene, Okokodiagbene, Oproza, Ogbe-Ijo, Burutu, Ekeremor Zion, Sagbama, Aven, Patani, Amabulu, Peremabiri, Obuama, Agge, Fishtown, Koluama, Okrika, Bonny, Ataba, Omelema, Degema, Kula, Soku Elem-Sangama, Opobo, Abula, Amadi-ama, Buguma and most recently, Letugbene, Azagbene, Bilabiri, Igbomotoru Bille, Touma and Odouda.               


"These are just some of the Ijaw communities that the Nigerian State has razed in recent history for unjustifiable reasons. The relentless genocidal military campaign against our people will continue to remain a dark shadow in our heart." 


While emphasising that Touma community and Bille main town in the Degema Local Government Area of Rivers State have been decimated by the Nigerian Military, he said, "In September 2022, bloodthirsty Nigerian military embarked on a two-day sacking of these communities over the excuse of recovery of stolen firearms from two military personnel killed the same day pirates attacked a passenger boat and killed an indigene of Bille. The men of the 29 Battalion carried out these heinous crimes.


"Also in September, armed military men invaded Okobe community in Ahoada West Local Government area of Rivers State and killed three and arrested 10 persons under the alleged existence of a fuel dump in the area. It was, however, discovered to be false later. And who now pays for the lives of those killed?


"In the same September, the military bombarded the Udouda community in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State, killing yet-to-be-disclosed persons as several others sustained various degrees of bullet injury. Several houses in the community were also bombed to rubble.


"The excuse? Military air-raided the community over alleged bunkering activities in the area. Residents of the community fled to the nearby forest for safety and since had not returned. The attack was carried out by both land and air forces with several gunboats and fighter jets deployed in the brutal attack and survivors who scampered for safety have not returned to the community."


The group, therefore, called on the Federal Government through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate the bank accounts of Generals posted to the Niger Delta region and the complicity of their men in the heinous crime of illegal bunkering and theft, noting that they cannot be part of the crime and kill the innocent people for crimes they know nothing about.


The group called on the Nigerian government to "immediately withdraw all its military troops, submarines, gunboats and weaponry deployed to the region to the northern part of the country where it is needed the most to curtail the level of insecurity".