Soldiers Ignore FG Ceasefire, Invades Ijaw Community | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Niger Delta

Soldiers Ignore FG Ceasefire, Invades Ijaw Community

Posted: Jun 16, 2016 at 6:05 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

 Emma Arubi

Warri – Despite the two weeks ceasefire declared by the Federal Government, soldiers on Wednesday morning, swooped on Tebujoh, also known as Okpelama, an Ijaw community in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, in five gunboats hunting for militants.

Ibe Kachikwu, the Minister of State for Petroleum, had on Monday, June 7, announced that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed a two-week cessation of military offensive in the Niger Delta region to enable the government dialogue with the militants.

The Federal Government had ordered the immediate withdrawal of troops from communities in the Niger Delta region, amid allegations of heavy-handed military response to renewed attacks on oil and gas installations in the area.

The Niger Delta Avengers has declared war on oil installations, vowing to ground the country’s oil production.

It wants a sovereign state of the Niger Delta, and has attacked several facilities in recent weeks, cutting oil and gas production and forcing oil companies to shut some export terminals.

Comrade Sheriff Mulade, Chairman, Kokodiagbene community, said that it was imperative to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the continued harassment, intimidation and invasion of communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom.

Leaders of the communities averred that several residents were beaten and speed boats belonging to individuals were seized and taken away by the military.

“It is unfortunate that the military refused to obey and respect the president’s order by arresting innocent citizens and invading riverine communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom”.

The leaders cautioned the military to thread softly and adopt more of intelligence in their search for pipeline vandals and militants in order not to disrupt the ongoing dialogue process.

“We do not aid and support pipe vandals and militancy; therefore, we cannot pretend to be safe in Gbaramatu. They claimed that these communities were completely neglected and their environment bastardised as a result of many years of oil exploration and exploitation activities, which traditional occupation of fishing and farming has been totally eroded.

“Besides, we want to strongly appeal to the Federal Government to call its security agents to order to enable government have a smooth discussion with stakeholders of the region to bring lasting peace. We are not happy with the continued security challenges because the innocent citizens and residents are at the receiving end of the violence perpetrated by the militants and the military, that has caused a dip in crude production and affected the ecosystem badly,” Mulade appealed.

Operatives of the Nigeria Navy Ship, NNS Delta on Tuesday arrested three persons suspected to be pipeline bombers and oil thieves.

These came as a new militant group, Niger-Sea Commandos (NDSC), said it had broken away from the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA).

Meanwhile, the Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF), a non-operational militant group founded by the late John Togo, has slammed the Joint Niger Delta Liberation Force (JNDLF), for using its name without permission to announce plan by militants to launch missiles and attack government establishments.

Commander of the Nigerian Navy Ship, NNS Delta, Commodore Raimi Mohammed, confirmed on phone that navy arrested three suspects.

“I can confirm that the arrest was made, but I maintain my earlier stance that I do not want to attach group names to people. We are up against oil assets destroyers, oil thieves and other criminals in the waterways. Therefore, it is true we have made arrest of the three, but I am not at the moment concerned about what group people claim to belong.”

A villager, who spoke on the arrest, said: “Three youths from Tebujor were unlawfully arrested today (Tuesday) by Nigerian Navy. The youths were coming from fetching mangrove sticks to set a fishing trap when they were apprehended by navy personnel on patrol at Tebujor.”