BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN
President of the Ijaw Youth Council(IYC), Barrister Pereotubo Oweilaemi, has charged the military to exercise some restraint in their recent fight against sea pirates in the creeks of Delta and Bayelsa States.
He made the admonition in a statement made available to the press yesterday.
He described the fight as commendable but warned the military to separate the criminals from the law abiding citizens.
“Ongoing war against sea pirates in the creeks of Delta and Bayelsa States by the military Joint Task Force is commendable. “The criminal activities of these societal cankerworms were getting to an alarming rate.
“Ijaw nation did not support criminality of any form by these overbearing youths as that did not form part of our collective struggle for economic emancipation.
“The primary victims to the criminal activities of these lawless youth are the defenceless Ijaw people who are peacefully living in our communities.
“We cannot fold our arms and allow criminals to be terrorising our communities. The Ijaw nation is in full support of the ongoing military action on the said dissidents but not without a warning to the military to separate the criminals from the law-abiding citizens,” he stated.
Going further, he said: “To this end, IYC wish to assure the military that all the riverine communities affected are with it in the fight against sea piracy.
“We commend the efforts of the JTF in weeding the creeks of criminality. We hereby commensurate with the military for the loss of its officer who was beheaded by these dare devil criminals on a peace mission to their den.
“The Ijaw nation is solidly behind the military action as far as it is only targeting the culprits.”
According to Barrister Oweilaemi: “Though, we endorsed the military action against the criminals, we do not endorsed the criminalising of the communities to justify their invasions. Granted that the IYC has earlier called on the military to swing into action immediately in order to contain the excesses of the marauding criminals, we do not call on you to invade and destroy any of the Ijaw communities.
“Calls we are receiving from these communities indicated that the inhabitants are in the forest without food for days. These communities need protection and not invasions.
“They are also cooperating with the JTF in providing useful information for the tracking of the bandits as well as embarking on community policing which has led to the arrest of some of the culprits.”
In conclusion, the IYC President posited: “We also appeal to the military to open up the water way for normal business activities to take place. The entire communities along Ramos Creek are trapped in hunger as there is no food supply to the affected areas.
“The military should not cause humanitarian crisis for the innocent civilians in this part of the Country.
“All relevant bodies should rise to the occasion. The Governments of Bayelsa and Delta States should synergy efforts into rescuing these communities from the imminent Holocaust.”
BY ISAAC OLAMIKAN