Don’t deploy troops in Niger Delta, Ijaw youths tell FG

The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, has strongly advised the Federal Government against deploying troops, fighter jets and other military hardwares in the Niger Delta to rout out militants.

The advice is contained in their resolutions reached after an emergency meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, on Monday.

The youths said the advice became imperative due to the fact that militants had no permanent location in the creeks like the Sambisa Forest that provided safe haven for Boko Haram insurgents in the North-East.

The IYC in a communique signed by the its President, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, and spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare, noted that militants claiming responsibilities for bombings of oil installations in the region were adopting guerrilla tactics to carry out their nefarious activities.

The group said instead of resorting to military option, the security agencies should adopt intelligence gathering to stop the attacks and apprehend the militants.

The IYC said, “We strongly advise against this option. It is not, and can never be a solution to Niger Delta crisis. Those recommending military option are enemies of the Federal Government, Niger Delta people and the entire citizenry.

“In the first place, the Niger Delta militants that have claimed responsibility for attacks on oil facilities are not stationed in any particular place like Boko-Haram in Sambisa forest. There is no Sambisa forest in the Niger Delta region where the military can go and confront militants.

“Those carrying out these attacks have adopted a guerrilla strategy; hence the solution is for the relevant security to deepen intelligence gathering, working with local communities and not full scale military onslaught on the communities and people.

“Any full scale military action in the Niger Delta would only succeed in killing innocent people and destruction of communities that are also victims of the militancy. It is worthy of note that Gbaramatu Kingdom that the military has been consistently harassing is not the headquarters of any of the militant groups.

“The Gbaramatu people are peace loving Ijaw people and the military must stop the consistent invasion of Gbaramatu communities or any other Ijaw community.”

It added that for permanent peace to be achieved, the country must be restructured with substantial powers given to federating units to manage and develop their people and communities.