Groups condemn JTF’s plan to attack communities

Emma Amaize

09 February 2012, Sweetcrude, WARRI – A coalition of non-governmental organizations and civil society groups in the – Niger Delta, Thursday, criticized the plan by the military high command to bomb communities in the region for allegedly harboring renegade militants, who attacked and destroyed a pipeline belonging to Italian oil giants, AGIP, last week.

The Joint Task Force, codenamed Opeation Pulo Shield, had, during the week, named seven persons suspected to be the brains behind the incident and asked them to report for interrogation, today, Friday. The breach led to a cut in the nation’s oil production.

Coordinator of the Coalition, Joel Bisina, said, ‘’It is unacceptable that when there is a crisis in Niger Delta, communities are made to suffer as against the practice in the north where there is Boko Haram. The idea of having Niger Delta communities to be accountable to the disgruntled groups/ criminals is not acceptable. The demand to produce information on persons who allegedly bombed the oil facilities by the military is not fair to the Niger Delta people and it does not portray it as an organization that has the capacity to protect lives and property of Nigerians”.

‘The statement by the military headquarters, portrays them as showing double standard in the country and there is demand made by them to produce Boko Haram leaders and sponsors. The episode of Odi, Gbaramatu, Ayakoromor which were wiped out by the military is still fresh in the minds of the Niger Delta people.”

‘’Whereas Okah’s brothers are standing trials over alleged bombing during the Independence Day anniversary , Boko Haram suspects are made to walk out of prisons. The coalition, people and citizens of Niger Delta will no longer tolerate this act of double standards on the part of the military.

‘’The Coalition condemns in its entirety the resurgence of violence in the Niger Delta particularly the bombing of oil pipelines as this has the capacity to derail the successful implementation of the amnesty programme. We therefore, plead with all the stakeholders to explore lawful and constitutional means to address their grievances with a view to creating enabling environment for the federal government to implement its laudable projects in the region such as the amnesty programme and other physical infrastructure,” he asserted

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