By Gabriel Enogholase
BENIN—PRESIDENT of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, Mr Pereotubo Oweilaemi, has appealed to the Joint Military Task Force, JTF, currently in pursuit of the criminals that killed one of their colleagues, to exercise some restraints, saying that they should do all within their powers to separate criminals from law abiding citizens.
In a statement in Benin City, Edo State, yesterday, the IYC President commended the JTF for the war against piracy and other vices in the region, saying: ”The criminal activities of these societal cankerworms are becoming alarming.
“Ijaw nation does not support criminality of any form by these overbearing youths as that does not form part of our collective struggle for economic emancipation. The primary victims of the criminal activities of these lawless youths are the defenceless Ijaw people who are peacefully living in our communities.
“We cannot fold our arms and allow criminals to be terrorising our communities. The Ijaw nation is in support of the ongoing military action on the said dissidents but not without a warning to the military to separate the criminals from the law-abiding citizens.
“To this end, IYC wishes to assure the military that all the riverine communities affected are with it on its fight against piracy. We commend the efforts of the JTF in weeding the creeks of criminality. We, hereby, commiserate with the military on the loss of its officer who was beheaded by these dare devil criminals while on a peace mission to their den.
“The Ijaw nation is solidly behind the military action as far as it is only targeting the culprits. Though, we endorse the military action against the criminals, we do not endorse the criminalising of the communities to justify their invasion. Granted that the IYC had earlier called on the military to swing into action immediately in order to contain the excesses of the marauding criminals, we didn’t call on you to invade and destroy any Ijaw community.
“Calls we are receiving from the communities indicate that the inhabitants are in the forest without food for days. These communities need protection and not invasions. They are also cooperating with the JTF in providing useful information for the tracking of the bandits as well as embarking on community policing which has led to the arrest of some of the culprits.”