Apex Ijaw youth organisation, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, has called for an an end to the ongoing military bombardment of Toru-Ndoro Community in Ekeremor Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. The call was made in a statement issued on Sunday by Mr. Eric Omare, IYC President. The organisation disclosed that from Saturday to the early hours of Sunday, it received distress calls from residents and indigenes of Toru-Ndoro, notifying it that military officers on a manhunt for alleged killers of a security operative had invaded the community and burnt more than fifty houses.
While the IYC condemned the beheading of the security operative by criminals operating in the Ndoro area and expressed support for efforts to bring the perpetrators to justice, it, however, condemned the invasion of the community and burning down of homes in a manner reminiscent of what happened such as Odi in Bayelsa State, Ajapa in Ondo State and Ajakarama in Delta State.
“We demand that the few persons, who are involved in criminality, should be separated from the rest of the community and made to face the full weight of the law. In most cases, the people and communities where these criminal elements operate from are usually the first victims of their criminal activities,”
The organisation stated the whereabouts of Mr. Bonny Gawei, an ex-militant leader from Ogulagha Kingdom, Delta State, who accompanied the beheaded security operative to Ndoro on a peace mission, remains unknown despite the fact that he is Ijaw.
It stated that the Ijaw in and other people of the Niger Delta are opposed to criminality.
“We have severally expressed our determination to work with security agencies to fish out these criminals because it is not part of our way of life. However, the entire community must not be made to suffer for the crimes of few persons. If these were to be the case, then all the communities in the Boko Haram infected North-East of Nigeria would have been burnt down by now,” said the IYC.
It alleged that the people of the Niger Delta are always harshly treated by security agencies.
“Consequently, we call on President Buhari, Minister of Defence, the Chief of Army Staff and the Commander of the Operation Delta Safe to, as a matter of urgency, stop the ongoing invasion and burning of Toru-Ndoro while efforts are made to bring the criminals who beheaded the security operative to justice,” the group demanded.