Ijaw Elders seek justice for slain officers, safety for innocent residents



By Nathan Nwakamma

Yenagoa, April 6, 2024 (NAN) The Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF), Lagos branch, on Saturday expressed concerns over recent developments following the killing of 17 military personnel at Okuama in Delta and ongoing military crackdown in search of the masterminds.

IEF said this in a statement, signed by Chief Bukazi Etete and Mr Efiye Bribena, chairman and Secretary respectively, and made available to newsmen in Yenagoa.

The forum condemned the attack on military personnel, saying it was unacceptable and demanded the isolation and apprehension of the culprits to face the law.

“We condemn in very strong terms the killing of military personnel in Okuama community and call on the authorities to thoroughly investigate and bring the perpetrators of this dastardly act to justice.

“This should be done with respect to relevant laws, swiftly and equitably,” the forum said.

IEF, however, said it had observed with dismay the alleged invasion and wanton destruction of lives and properties in Okuama, Delta state, and Igbomatoru, Bayelsa, by the military.

“We, therefore, call on the authorities to thoroughly investigate the matter and bring to justice all those responsible for the killings and destruction of properties in both communities.

“The military has a constitutional role in protecting citizens and so must respect the rules of engagement when dealing with civilians,” the body said.

The elders charged the military authorities to thoroughly investigate the immediate and remote causes of the death of the military personnel at Okuama and other communities including collateral damages that followed the unfortunate incident.

IEF regretted that communities and individuals in settling personal, inter- and intra-community disputes with the use of force and called on leaders and well-meaning individuals of every community in the region to explore means of settling disputes without recourse to the use of violence.

“We call on all parties to avoid statements and actions that can further inflame the situation.

According to him, caution and discretion should be exercised by all parties making statements and reporting on these incidents.

“Speculative reports should be avoided at this time as it may compromise the integrity and quality of the investigation,” IEF stated.

IEF also frowned at the invasion of the country home of the respected national leader of the Ijaw nation and the South-South region, Chief E.K. Clark, by the military.

“We find the invasion of the country home of the 97-year-old leader unacceptable and request for an explanation or an unreserved apology from the military authorities to the revered leader and to the Ijaw Nation.

“We call on the authorities to adequately compensate all individuals, military and civilians, families and communities who have been impacted by these evil activities of non-state actors and the military,” the Ijaw Elders demanded. (NAN)


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