By Ndu Samuel
A pan- Niger Delta pressure group, the Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative (IPDI) has vowed to short down all oil facilities in the Niger Delta region if the Federal government fail to rebuild Bilabiri 1&2 communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State recently burnt down by the Joint Task Force JTF
The group, through a stament signed by its national President Comr. Austin Ozobo, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspaper on Tuesday said they are infuriated over the senseless and unwarranted destruction of properties belonging to defenceless citizens of Bilabiri 1&2.
Ozobo said they have openly condemned the killing of some personnel of the Nigerian Army and the abduction of expartiates by yet to be identified gunmen and will never support such act of crime against humanity, but noted that it is not an acceptable reason to cause such magnitude of mayhem on Bilabiri 1&2 communities on mere suspicion that perpetrators of the crime are hidden there.
He said ”We have been disgusted and infuriated over the unlawful military invasions of Bilabiri 1&2 Communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa state on last Friday. We condemn it in it entirety as it is barbaric , senseless and unlawful. We (Ijaws) have been pushed to the wall and we have decided to call for a total shutdown of all oil facilities in Niger Delta to protest against the continues unlawful burning of Ijaw communities if Federal Government fails to rebuild Bilabiri 1&2 within 30 days.
”The killing of three military Officers was outrightly condemned by the Ijaw nation. But that seems not enough to pacify and reconcile the marauding ,bias and sectional military Officers in Nigeria. Despite the massive condemnation of the attack, the military went ahead and burnt down two Ijaw speaking Communities in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State on mere suspicion that some youths from those Communities could be part of the gunmen who killed three military personnel and abducted four expatriates.”
”The law of presumption of innocent has been violated. The law says every accused person (s) is or are presumed innoncent except proven guilty by a competent court of jurisdiction. Now which court actually told the sectional military that people they are suspecting are guilty of the crime before burning down the innocent commmunities?. This is an act of lawlessness and complete abuse of rights of residents of the innocent commmunities. The people’s right to life, right to personal liberty, right to fair hearing and presumption of innocent have been violated.”
”The killing of three military and abduction of four expatriates were never planned by the entire two Communities, and the action did not took place in Bilabiri 1&2 communities to warrant being burnt down unlawfully. Our king palace was burnt down. If it were in the North would they burn a palace of emir because of one useless criminal?
”This is a deliberate attempt to wipe out the existence of Ijaws in Nigeria. Our benevolent has been taken for granted being the strength of the country’s economy. Killing, burning and invading of Ijaw Communities is a coup against Ijaw nation and it is unacceptable.”
”In as much as we do not support killing of military personnel under any guise, we want to state unequivocally that more military died in the volatile North than Southern Nigeria. But despite the massive killings Of Military Personnel In the North, no Northern community has been burnt down. On 18th of December, 2019 two custom Officers were killed in Lokoja/Okene road but the government has not deem it fit to burn down the two cities.”
”Further more, on January 15, 2020 two soldiers were killed by bandits at Okene, up till now Okene has not been burnt down. On July 11, 2019 12 soldiers got missing and ten were killed in Damboa in Borno by suspected Boko Haram attack but up till now Damboa has not been burnt down. One soldier was killed in Rigasa area of Kuduna on January 16,2020 but Rigasa has not been burnt down. On March 22,2018, 12 soldiers were killed in Kuduna, military is yet to burn down Kaduna. On Friday 11,2019, 13 soldiers killed by Boko Haram were given mass burial in Kaduna, but Kuduna is yet to be burnt down. January 9,2020 about 8 soldiers were killed in monguno town in Maiduguru but Monguno is yet to be burnt down, In November 22, 2018 about 100 soldiers were killed in a Metele village attack, but since Military has not burnt down Metele village in eastern Borno state and failed to compelled the community to produce identity of the attackers and many more.”
”We are now endangered spicies. We are at the verge of being wiped out. We are disappointed over the unlawful invasion and burning of Bilabiri Communities.
There is no town or city in Nigeria that doesn’t harbour criminals but non of such cities have been burnt down despite several criminal attacks on military personnel. Some suspected criminals came from Ijaw commmunities is not an enough reason to burnt down Ijaw communities, If the sectional military and Nigerian government do not have an evil agenda against Ijaw people.
”The military action could not be referred as mere act of unprofessionalism but an act of wickedness and desperate move to kill and wipe Ijaw nation away for the free flow of the oil in our land. It may interest you to know that Bilabiri 1&2 are not militant dens but ancient commmunities of Ijaw speaking people. Thousands of its residents were displaced.Properties worth billions of naira were ravaged. Many indigenes are still trap in the maggrove forest. Others made homeless. No relief efforts. What an evil done to the sleeping innocent commmunities?
”We hereby call for a rebuild of the commmunities within 30 days and the military who carry out this unlawful and dastard acts should be investigated and brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.”
”If this is not done within 30 days ,we will be forced to call for shutdown of all oil facilities in Niger Delta region to protest against the continues invasion and burning of Ijaw communities in Niger Delta region.”