By Eseoghene Emuke
The Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative (IPDI) has condemned the alleged military attack on Izansa community in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State, appealing to the Federal Government and the military authorities to urgently investigate the matter.
WARRI TODAY had reported that soldiers attached to the Joint Task Force codenamed Operation Delta Safe had on December 23, 2018 reportedly set ablaze a wooden boat said to be carrying illegally refined petroleum product and in the process the fire escalated into burning no fewer than 20 houses in the community.
The National President of IPDI, Comrade Austin Ozobo in a statement on Saturday condemned the soldiers’ action, saying that burning of houses and invading homes of peace loving communities was not part of national assignment for security operatives.
Ozobo, in the statement noted that the group has been receiving distressed calls from the residents of the community over the incident, adding that such actions are capable of fueling tension in the Niger Delta region.
According to him, “Our attention has been drawn to the barbaric invasion of IZANSA community in Warri South-west local government area of Delta state by suspected military patrol team.
“We have been receiving distressed calls from residents of the community, and that the orchestrated act was meant to wipe out every residents of the community. We are unhappy because this unchecked reoccurring ugly situation is capable of distorting the existing peace in Niger Delta region.
“We vehemently condemn the ugly act; the military seems to be on a suicidal mission in Niger Delta. Burning and invading peace loving residents is not part of national assignments.”
The statement alleged that, “We were told that there was a sporadic shooting by the military and all residents fled the community, properties worth millions of naira and over 20 residents were burnt down. And who should take responsibility on this insensitivity that has left hundreds of persons homeless? This is another criminal act that needs to be investigated.
“It is disgusting, how do you invade and burnt down lawful community because you saw a boat suspected to have been used for bunkering activities floating around the territorial waters of the community?
“It is wrong to punish them on what they know nothing about, the rivers is being operated by several users. It is not possible to take notice of everything that people do on the waterways since it is not inland waters.”
“It is criminal that the military who were constituted to protect lives and properties are the same people destroying lives and property. They became more dreaded to law-abiding citizens in the country than those commonly referred as criminals.
“If the military who is been paid with tax payers money ,who supposed to have respect for the rights of the citizen and the law of the land could condescend so low to abate and hide crime, then what should ordinary man do?
“We are calling on President Muhammadu and Chief of Army and Defence staff to make quick inquiry to the invasion of IZANSA community and bring to book the affected officers without further delay”, the statement added.