Wednesday, February 1Nigeria's Authoritative Maritime News Magazine
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THE IJAW PEOPLE ASSEMBLY (IPA) CONDEMNS IN STRONG TERMS MILITARY INVASION OF PEACEFUL AZAGBENE COMMUNITY

THE IJAW PEOPLE ASSEMBLY (IPA) CONDEMNS IN STRONG TERMS MILITARY INVASION OF THE PEACEFUL COMMUNITY OF AZAGBENE IN EKEREMOR LGA OF BAYELSA STATE

The IPA condemns in strong terms the invasion and razing of Azagbene Federated community by officers of the 16 Brigade of the Nigerian Army under any guise. The dastardly, cruel and dehumanizing attack carried out on July 23,2019 has pulverized the entire community and internally displaced the whole population including pregnant women and children, leaving no single private or public building standing. This gruesome attack by Nigerian soldiers, on an otherwise peaceful community currently renders every resident of the Azagbene community homeless. It has inflicted avoidable human sufferings upon a civil population who have been deprived, marginalised, excluded from development even though “oil flow” from that land lubricates the economic wheels of Nigeria.
This is one case too many in Ijaw nation as it is unacceptable for a military that is supposed to protect their people to continue to invade and destroy them. The Ijaw nation has suffered too many community invasions/razing in the hands of the Nigerian military forces from 1999 to date.
We read with dismay, statements credited to Maj. Danjuma Jonah denying military involvement in the burning down of the entire community. While we condemn the act of persons taking laws into their hands by killing soldiers, the destruction of an entire community as was the case of

Azagbene remains unjustifiable. It is unfortunate that a military spokesman in the calibre of Maj. Danjuma Jonah would say, “Our men did not burn down houses in Azagbene community. We are only combing the community and neighbouring towns in search of one soldier that is missing as a result of the attack that led to the death of two soldiers”. This is unacceptable as the crude tactic is not known to modern civilization. Crime prevention, investigation and prosecution in modern times have standard procedures and processes acceptable locally and internationally. No known standard rule of engagement in fight against crime prescribed raid on communities; it is a tactic adopted only by the Nigerian military. What an umpteenth hapless vengeance recorded in the annals of our nation!

While we join other well- meaning Nigerians to condemn the spate of killing and attack on uniform personnel across the country including officers recently killed in Bornu, Kaduna Abuja an so on, none of these incidents in other lands has warranted the burning down of communities except in the Ijaw oil- bearing communities. It stands to logic that army in the Niger Delta by extension in Ijaw land are there only to protect oil interests and not the people. This explains why communities will be destroyed anytime there is a perceived threat to the flow of oil.
As at press time, we cannot ascertain how many people have died or sustained severe injuries as the community was in disarray in a bid to escape as people ran helter-skelter for their dear lives. Some including the sick, children and pregnant mothers were alleged to have jumped into rivers against their will as part of their fleeing efforts.
We hereby make the following demands:
Federal government as a matter of urgency, deploy the National Emergency management agency (NEMA), working with local community leadership to deploy relief materials including medical services to Azagbene and other affected communities.

  1. The Nigerian military with immediate effect should resettle pro tempore all internally displaced persons
  2. The Nigerian government to set up a high-level commission of inquiry to unravel the circumstances leading to the invasion and bring perpetrators to book. The report of such investigation should be made available to the public
  3. The Nigeria military to rebuild the community, pay adequate compensation to the local population affected by the wanton destruction.
  4. President Mohammadu Buhari to withdraw all military personnel from the Ijaw nation as there is no war situation in our land that warrants occupation of the army.
  5. President Mohammadu Buhari to withdraw all military personnel from the Ijaw nation as there is no war situation in our land that warrants occupation of the army.