Peter Kelvin – Warri

The Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI, says it is disappointed over Nigerian Army’s lawless invasion and burning of Letugbene community in Ekeremor local government, Bayelsa state.

The group said the Nigerian military men burnt about 15 houses in Letugbene, rendering scores of children and women homeless and others missing.

IPDI said the military has invaded and burnt down communities in Ijaw repeatedly over the slightest threat by an individual.

In a statement signed by Comrade Austin Ozobo, National President of IPDI, the Ijaw group describes the Nigerian Army as being sectional.

“We are disappointed at the military lawlessness. Despite the Boko Haram menace in the North-East communities, no one community has been burnt down. The military is sectional in this country. We are disappointed.”

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“We learnt that over 15 houses were razed and, households items destroyed. A lot of children and adults are still missing.”

“In as much as we do not support the killing of innocent soldiers on national assignments, we equally frown at the military invasions and burning of peace loving Ijaw communities because of one criminal activity in the area.”

“We have emphasized severally that the military should be professional in their activities. Burning of people’s abode at every slightest provocation is evil and criminal.”

“The military activities have posed a big threat to our existence as a people. We call on all well meaning Ijaw leaders to condemn this barbaric activities.”

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However, the group blamed political leaders and traditional rulers in Ijaw for the repeated attacks on helpless Ijaw people and their communities.

The group insisted that the failure of leaders of Ijaw to engage the Nigerian military was what gave soldiers the impetus to continue its human rights violations in Ijaw communities.

“Our political leaders and traditional rulers in Ekeremor have failed. Their incompetency is what is giving the Military a privilege to burn our communities everyday.”

“Their inability to speak out and engage the military authorities are the reasons the military still have the impetus to invade and burn our communities today.”

IPDI condemned the attack in Letugbene by the Nigerian military and called on government to rebuild the houses destroyed and compensate victims of the mindless attack.

However, the Nigerian Army has denied complicity in the Letugbene attack.