By Tayo Joseph Lagos, Nigeria
The Ijaw Youth Council has challenged the Nigerian military, to a media tour to ascertain the veracity of damage and wanton destruction of lives and properties during its invasion of Ajakpa community in Ese –Odo LGA of Ondo state. While calling for cessation of hostilities against the community, the apex Ijaw youth described as gross misrepresentation and untrue, a recent press briefing credited to the Commander Operation Delta Safe, Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman.
In a press release made available to the press and signed by the Ijaw Youth Council National spokesman, Barr. Henry Iyalla it reads:
“The attention of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has been drawn to a media briefing credited to the Commander Operation Delta Safe Rear Admiral Apochi Suleiman who insisted that “those complaining about high-handedness, benefitted from Ossy Ibori’s booty while he was alive, and that the military was carrying out clearance operations to clear the community of shrines, hid out and militant camps used as safe heaven by militants. He further denied the allegations that the military was burning houses and harassing innocent citizens insisting that only militants were targeted”.
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) is stunned by this presumptive statement and is taken aback as the reverse is the case. We further state that this is not in tandem with the realities as experienced by members of Ajakpa Community. Reports reaching the council from elders, youth leaders, and residents of the community and its environs glaringly indicate that the community has been badly hit and may face extinction if this action is not urgently stopped.
On this note, the Ijaw Youth Council challenges the military to a guided media tour in the company of the Local Government officials, community Leaders and members, representatives of the State and Federal Government, Human Rights activists, International community with immediate effect to ascertain firsthand the true state of the community, veracity of our claims and obtain real evidence to verify the authenticity of claims”, he was quoted as saying.