Bayelsa community protests military invasion

The aggrieved people of Igbomotoru in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, on Sunday, staged a peaceful protest against the invasion of the coastal community by military gunboats.

The protesters, made up of youths, men, women and chiefs, who demonstrated in the community, in several videos posted online, claimed that the onslaught was reportedly at the instance of the All Progressives Congress deputy governorship candidate in the just-concluded state governorship election, Joshua Maciver.

They also alleged that Maciver masterminded the invasion to oppress them and also install one Friday Jonathan, who had been rejected, as the paramount ruler of the community.

The community equally claimed that the APC chieftain was using his links with a pipeline surveillance firm in the Niger Delta region, Tantita Security Services Limited, to cause mayhem in the community.

They vowed to resist any attempt to impose an “unwanted stooge” as the paramount ruler of the community.

In one of the videos, a man who claimed to be the deputy paramount ruler of the community said the town had been peaceful and called on the federal and state governments to check the activities of Tantita and Maciver.

He also alleged that Maciver was planning to bring back somebody from another community to be forcefully installed as the Igbomotoru ruler.

An old woman, who also spoke in Izon language in the video, said the community was peaceful and warned against attempts to cause mayhem in the area.

She said they would resist the plot to impose any ruler on the community.

The caretaker committee chairman of the Southern Ijaw council area, Lucky Okodeh, had raised similar security concerns over Tantita’s operations in the area.

The council chairman accused the firm of a security breach, including the destruction of lives and property.

He said some workers of the company in September, while patrolling the rivers in gunboats, invaded Okpotuwari, a neighbouring community to Igbomotoru, where it allegedly caused mayhem, fear, and destruction of lives and property.

Okodeh said he and his team had to intervene to restore peace in the community.

He called for a thorough investigation to address the alleged security breach perpetrated by the company’s operatives and bring the perpetrators to book.

Okodeh said, “Elections have come and gone, and I have a mandate to protect lives and property in Southern Ijaw LGA, and as such, politicians plotting political vendetta should be reminded that nobody, no matter how highly placed, will be allowed to toy with the peace existing in the LGA.

“We call once again for the security agencies to act swiftly and diligently to protect the lives and property in Southern Ijaw.”

Efforts to get a reaction from Maciver proved abortive, but one of his associates, who declined comment because he was not authorised to speak on the issue, promised to get the APC chieftain’s response and revert to our correspondent. He had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.



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