Bayelsa communities cry out at military siege

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The people of Igbomotoru in the Ijaw Local Government Area of ​​southern Bayelsa State have sent a soul rescue message to the state and federal governments as well as the international community to ‘they are intervening in the ongoing military attack and the dehumanization of people in their communities.

Leaders of communities headed by the interim supreme leader of Igbomotoru 1, Chief Simon Alogodei, told reporters in Yenagoa on Saturday that the armed soldiers acted on instructions from the Nigerian company Agip Oil and a monitoring company. of Pipelines, Darlon Security Nigeria Limited. .

Alogodei said the military brutality was escalating despite an official letter dated July 6, 2022, which they wrote to government bodies at state and federal levels notifying them of the unprovoked siege.

He said: “With deep pains in our hearts and a new and complete state of helplessness, we, the leaders and bona fide representatives of Igbomotoru 1 and 2 communities in the Ijaw Local Government Area of ​​Southern Bayelsa State, hereby call upon the Government of Bayelsa State, The Federal Government of Nigeria and the international community must, in earnest, urgently step in and bring the ongoing siege and continuing dehumanization in our communities under control Igbomotoru 1 and 2 perpetrated by armed military and their cohorts, presumably acting under the guidelines and instructions of the Nigerian Agip Oil Company Ltd and DARLON Security Nigeria Ltd.

“While we have no quarrel with military personnel providing security in any part of Nigeria, including our Igbomotoru 1 and 2 communities, it is undisputed that they must abide by their standard code of conduct and uphold the international best practices. This cannot be a middle siege mentality and subject our people to dehumanization.

“Even today, our poor and unfortunate women are repeatedly beaten and harassed by these armed soldiers. Living and doing business in our communities is now virtually impossible.

The traditional leader therefore urged governments and the international community to persuade the allegedly sponsored soldiers to leave their lands and stop inflicting suffering and pain on them.

Also speaking, lawyers for the Igbomotoru communities, Professor Festus Emiri (SAN) and Stanley Damabide, claimed that as many as seven people had been killed and several others arrested in Igbomotoru since soldiers stormed the communities on 22 June 2022.

Rejecting the insinuation of oil bunkering camps in the area, Emiri described the military invasion as part of the divide and conquer tactic deployed by the oil company and its ally to keep communities apart, stressing that he There was no problem in Igbomotoru to justify the presence of soldiers.

He said, “There is no problem in the community, and soldiers have no power to invade a community anyway. The Constitution of Nigeria is very clear, Section 217 to 218; soldiers are only deployed and employed to protect the territorial integrity of the country.

“If they perceive there is a problem in the community, what they should do is seek the assistance of the police and the police have the power under our law to prosecute. But what they do is scare people and once people are scared they cannot come together to present a common front against Agip being used as a substitute by Darlon Security Limited.

“At least seven people were killed. How many more do they want to kill, we don’t know. Several people have been arrested, people can’t go to their farms, people are just in jail but the constitution guarantees their right to life, property and movement. These cannot be shortened without any court of justice condemning a people. There’s nothing like communal guilt. The law does not provide that a community can be guilty. An individual can be guilty, not a community.

Damabide, for his part, expressed his surprise that despite the official complaint to the relevant government departments, the alleged acts of dehumanization continue in Igbomotoru.

He, however, revealed that they had just received a phone call from the state government informing them of a meeting scheduled for Friday this week and described the military brutality in the community as “sad and unfortunate”.

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