Posted by News Express | 22 June 2015 | 3,028 times
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) on Sunday told Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh to direct the energies of the armed forces to the sponsors of oil theft activities in the Niger Delta region.
Spokesman of IYC, Mr Eric Omare gave the advice while reacting to a warning issued by Badeh while inaugurating the permanent office complex for the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta in Yenagoa on Friday.
Omare noted that the warning from the Defense Chief to the Niger Delta Region was ill advised as majority of the people were law abiding.
“The IYC regard the threat by the military to attack the Niger Delta region because of alleged rise in criminal activities such as oil theft, sea piracy and kidnapping as a subterfuge to attack and kill innocent people of the Niger Delta region.
“This is a prelude to the execution of a hidden agenda by a section of the country now in power to silence the people of the Niger Delta,” he said.
According to a statement issued by the IYC on the development, the Niger Delta people were the greater victims of oil theft and had condemned the activities which polluted the environment.
“The threat by the military, to attack the Niger Delta region because of alleged rise in criminal activities such as oil theft, sea piracy and kidnapping, is a subterfuge to attack and kill innocent people of the Niger Delta region.
“It is an open secret that those involved in oil theft in the Niger Delta are well placed persons in the society including top ranking serving and retired military officers. Some persons in the Niger Delta are only used as artisans and errand boys.
“Air Marshall Alex Badeh cannot claim ignorance of this fact. The IYC has said this several times and wondered why the innocent people of the Niger Delta should be the scapegoat for the sins of highly placed and powerful people in Nigeria.
“It is obvious that the poor villages cannot be the owners of an oil ship containing 15,000 metric tons of oil recently impounded by the JTF,” he said.
The IYC spokesman noted that the Niger Delta amnesty programme for ex-agitators has no connection with the criminal activities as they were in the struggle for better condition from the oil and gas resources found in the region.
The statement read in part: “The IYC does not support or encourage criminal activities such as kidnapping and sea piracy under any guise as these activities are not part of our struggle and we have consistently condemned them.
“However, the occurrence of these criminal activities in the Niger Delta region cannot be used as a justification to carry out a mass attack on the Niger Delta region.
“We call on the Chief of Defence Staff, Air Marshall Alex Badeh and the Nigeria military to have a rethink and save innocent lives.
“The Nigeria Military did not acquire ammunitions to kill innocent Niger Deltans but to fight Boko Haram insurgents in the North East who are killing innocent Nigerians on a daily basis.
“Air Marshall Alex Badeh should direct his energies to the appropriate place and not play to the gallery to please his masters.”
•Photo shows Air Marshall Badeh.
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