Soldiers lay siege to Ijawland, insist militants must surrender

Soldiers lay siege to Ijawland, insist militants must surrender

Monday, May 30, 2016 7:52 am

Nigerian soldiers

Nigerian soldiers

Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt

The Join Task Force (JTF) at the weekend cordoned and searched more Ijaw communities, ordering residents to produce the militants bombing oil and gas installations in Delta and Bayelsa States. They also asked the villagers to produce the ex – warlord, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.

An Ijaw community leader and Chairman of Kokodiagbene town union, Comrade Sheriff Mulade who spoke with journalists on phone from Kokodiagbene, claimed that residents ran into the bush under a down pour when the military invaded the communities.

According to him, passenger boats were impounded and thoroughly searched. “As we are talking, no boat is coming in or going out. They have barred the people of Oporoza from fishing activities. The people cannot go out to get anything; they are intimidating the villagers that they must produce Avengers and Tompolo.”

According to Mulade, all the students, children and women are in the forest and there is a deliberate blockage of the waterways and food shortage is on the increase, military approach is not the best option; dialogue is the way.

He argued: “Any nation that continues years after years to spend more money on military defense rather than programs of social uplift is approaching a spiritual doom. Therefore, we are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari to withdraw all military from Oporoza community and position them in a strategic locations to prevent the Niger Delta Avengers from further vandalization of Pipeline and oil installation.

“The communities are deserted as more troops have been deployed to Oporoza and the surrounding hamlets, creating fears in the people,” Comrade Sheriff laid.

“We welcome the military because of the activities of NDA and pirates. We believe the military will stem the tide of the activities, but the humiliation and intimidation of innocent citizens is unacceptable and unconstitutional.”

He added, “The NDA do not reside in Gbaramatu. They have adopted guerilla tactics to perpetrate their evil acts. The people are living in abject poverty and the Nigeria state should not add more hardship on them. The ecosystem is destroyed by the bombing, but the way the military is going, it will be difficult for the people to corporate with them. The people cannot be tortured and you expect them to give you information. It is not possible”

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