As soldiers allegedly burn 50 houses
By Samuel Oyadongha
YENAGOA— THE Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, worldwide, yesterday, claimed the military searching for suspected criminals, who killed a security operative, destroyed no fewer than 50 houses, in the coastal settlement of Toru-Ndoro in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
IYC pleaded with the military to focus on the search for the killers of the soldier rather than engaging in acts of arson and destruction of the Bayelsa community.
The IYC President, Eric Omare, in a statement called on the military to stop the ongoing military bombardment of Toru-Ndoro community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
He said: “From Saturday, January 6 to the early hours of Sunday, January 7, 2018, IYC received several distress calls from residents and indigenes of Toru-Ndoro community to the effect that military officers on a manhunt for alleged killers of a security operative have invaded and burnt more than 50 houses.
“IYC in the strongest terms condemns the alleged beheading of a security operative by some criminals operating within the Ndoro axis and we strongly support efforts to bring the perpetrators of the heinous crime to justice.
“However, we hold the strong view that it is extremely wrong and condemnable for security agents to invade and burn down an entire community in the name of looking for criminals just as it has happened in other Niger Delta communities such as Odi in Bayelsa State, Ajapa in Ondo State, Ajakarama in Delta State and now Toru-Ndoro in Bayelsa State.
“We demand that the few persons who are involved in criminality should be separated from the rest of the community and made to face the full weight of the law. In most cases, the people and communities where these criminal elements operate from are usually the first victims of their criminal activities.
“At the time of issuing this statement, the whereabout of Mr. Bonny Gawei, an ex-militant leader from Ogulagha Kingdom, Delta State who accompanied the beheaded security operative to Ndoro on a peace mission is still unknown despite the fact that he too is Ijaw.
“The IYC, the Ijaw nation in particular and Niger Deltans in general do not support the activities of these few criminal elements. We have severally expressed our determination to work with security agencies to fish out these criminals because it is not part of our way of life.
“However, the entire community must not be made to suffer for the crimes of a few persons. If this was to be the case, then all the communities in the Boko Haram infested North East of Nigeria would have been burnt down by now.
“Consequently, we call on Commander-in-Chief, President Muhammadu Buhari; Minister of Defence, Chief of Army Staff and Commander of Operation Delta Safe to as a matter of urgency stop the ongoing invasion and burning of Toru-Ndoro community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State while efforts are being made to bring the criminals who beheaded the security operative to justice.”