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Ijaw Communities are under military siege, says human right activist



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 By Odunewu Segun

The National President of the Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade (FHRACC), Barrister Alaowei Cleric Esq has criticised the military for its excesses in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri Southwest LGA of Delta State in its attempt to fish out pipeline vandals.

According to the human right activist, what the military Joint Task Force (JTF) is doing to the riverine communities is a demonstration of military prowess to its enemies in order to coerce them into doing its biddings. “We are disturbed or rather appalled by the military belligerent attitudes towards the riverine Ijaw communities over the pipeline destruction by hoodlums. If the military refuses to retrace its aggressive steps towards these defenseless Ijaw communities then we may be forced to believe that the military has an ulterior motive against the Ijaw communities beyond looking for the culprits of the dastardly act”.

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He stated that FHRACC attention has been drawn to the activities of the Nigerian armed forces to the inhabitants of Sandfield 1 & 2, Ogbogbene, Hotel and Fenegbene in Warri South West LGA of Delta State. “We’re reliably informed by members of these communities that the military has sent a warning to them that they should evacuate their ancestral lands. They also said the military sent a stern warning to them that should they refuse to heed to its warning, it will invade the communities in the name of searching for the culprits of the pipeline bombings.

“Apparently to manifest its plan, the military has been shooting sporadically almost in every night from the Warri Naval Base into the direction of these communities. The people cannot sleep with their two eyes close, while several others have deserted the communities as a result of the threatening gun shorts.”

Barrister Alaowei disclosed that FHRACC is quite aware that the military has the constitutional responsibility to apprehend the culprits at anywhere, but added that it should not use its sacred duties to invade other people’s rights without any justification. “These communities are far from the place where the said acts were alleged to have been carried out. What is happening to these communities has crumbled the business of the area. The people cannot go about their lawful business since the military threatened to attack them”, he pointed out.