IPDI Calls on Military to Evacuate Soldiers From Rivers Communities

By Tapre Timine
7 Min Read

Foremost Ijaw group, the Ijaw People’s Development Initiative, IPDI, has called on the Nigerian Military to immediately evacuate the Udouda and Okobe communities in Egene kingdom in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State for its inhabitants to live peacefully.

This was contained in a statement by the group’s National President, Comrade Ozobo Austin on Monday.

The group argued that Uduoda and Okobe Communities were not at war with the Nigerian military and do not desire to be persecuted, killed gruesomely, and conquered by Nigerian troops.

It therefore, referred the Nigerian military to visit the Sambisa forest if it needed a place to conquer and occupy, and not residential communities, whose common trade is fishing and farming.

I have not seen any provocation in the South-South or Niger Delta region currently to have made the military bombard, kill and conquer a residential community compared to the glaring provocations in northern Nigeria which the military is sentimentally ignoring.

“The military should tell Nigerians why ancient Udouda and Okobe communities were bombarded and who are they looking for and the crime committed by such persons should be told.

“The way the Nigerian military invades and bombards defenseless communities in Niger Delta if they replicate it in fighting terrorism, banditry and Islamic militants by now Nigeria might have been free completely from Islamic Taliban.

“As I said earlier, some people are carrying a gun or doing bunkering business in a community is not enough reason to bombard such community, because as you are targeting the people who are carrying a gun, remember there are also good people in that community who are not carrying gun or doing bunkery.

“Even the Bible is against clearing the weeds and the wheat together. Jesus said live with them to grow together but on the last day, they will be separated. If what we call military intelligence nowadays is not mere hearsay, when you want to attack a residential community, you should know first, whether the place is a residential area, what the population size of those being hunted for, and other lawful residents in the community because you must avoid collateral damage.

“The weak need to be protected in all operations, but the case of Niger Delta is different. It is wrong to embark on any operation especially in a residential community to kill the weak. Why I said the weak is because the strong ones will always escape unhurt.

“It must be made clear that no force is expected to destroy her people with weapons of mass destruction or meant for external aggression because of some provocation arising from a community. This act is an act of war crime and abuse of the fundamental rights of innocent citizens.

“I reiterate that there is no city or town in the world that does not harbor a criminal element or is completely free from criminal activities.

“If these barbaric military invasions and bombardments in the Niger Delta should be embraced, then the military should invade the entire world for consciously or unconsciously abhorring criminal elements or activities.

“If Nigerian military is not lopsided or sectional, Kaduna, Zamfara, Sokoto, Abuja, Yobe and other cities and towns in the northeastern part of the country abhorring large presence of bandits and terrorists be heavily air-raided.

“I am seriously provoked, and I don’t care to know the crime in which the Rivers Communities were shelled, because thousands of such crimes are perpetrated in the cities and towns of northern Nigeria and no raid has been carried out. This shows that Nigeria’s military operations are selective and lopsided.

“Again, I am not moved by these lopsided attacks against Niger Delta Communities in whatever coloration the military wants to paint it to justify their inimical action.

“Currently, Abuja is under siege of Islamic terrorists and I expected Abuja to be bombed with the Islamic Taliban including all innocent people thereof, as it is done to peaceful law-abiding Udouda and Okobe communities in Rivers state in the recent times.

“I want to state unequivocally that a community abhors some suspected criminal elements do not mean that there are no good people in the community. So the military should be brave enough to avoid causalities if there should be any such operations at all. If you say the good people should evacuate such a community, I will ask you why the people in the northeast, Abuja, Kaduna, and others have not relocated despite the heavy presence of bandits in such communities.

“Sadly, the military in Nigeria wants to wipe out Niger Delta Communities, they protect innocent citizens in northern Nigeria but in Southern Nigeria, they kill the innocent together with suspects.

I want to make it abundantly clear that Uduoda and Okobe Communities in Rivers state are not militant hideouts or camps and can’t be shelled or bombed with crude military intelligence because these are communities that have Government schools, churches, MTN max, government power lines, and others.

“I have suggested to Niger Delta Communities to sue the Nigerian military for at least N100billion naira for any unlawful military torture, harassment, and invasion to check the excessive militarization of Niger Delta Communities.

“I call on the Nigerian military authorities to prevail on her people to evacuate the Udouda and Okobe Communities to allow the fleeing residents to return to their homes as hundreds of persons have been made homeless and suffering as a result of these invasions.

“Again, I on the governor of Rivers State, His Excellency Nyesom Wike, Chief of Defence Staff, and Chief of Army Staff to prevail on the military task force, Operation Delta Safe in Rivers and Bayelsa State to stop further invasions in Niger Delta Communities and ensure the military personnel who have perpetrated this heinous crime against Uduoda and Okobe communities be made to face justice.”

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