23 January 2015, Yenagoa – Ijaw elders, Friday, urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to only go after persons behind the recent attacks on major oil and gas pipelines in the Niger Delta region.
The leaders under the aegis of Bayelsa Elders Council (BEC) said Buhari should direct the security agencies to fish out the perpetrators and bring them to justice under the rule of law.
The elders held a crucial meeting in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, to review the state of the nation with particular attention to the rising attacks on oil and gas installations.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the elders appealed to Buhari to prevent security operatives from destroying innocent communities under the guise of fishing out pipeline vandals.
They, however, called on the perpetrators to desist from further attacks on pipelines to avoid further damaging the economy of the state and the country in view of continuous fall of crude oil price.
The communiqué was signed by BEC’s Chairman, Chief Francis Doukpola and Publicity Secretary, Chief Thompson Okorotie.
The elders also asked the Federal Government to exercise caution while making statements on the matter and to consult widely before making decisions on issues affecting the amnesty programme.
They urged the federal government to apply the carrot and stick approach by negotiating with the host communities to bring about sustainable solutions to the problem,
They said: “The council expresses its support for the anti-corruption crusade embarked upon by President Mohammadu Buhari. It is however concerned about the way certain fellow Nigerians including Ijaws have been handled in the process.
“All Nigerians deserve to be treated decently in preservation of their fundamental human rights under the rule of law”.
Some of the Ijaw elders present at the meeting were HRM Joshua Igbagara, Ibenanaowei of Oyiakiri clan; HRM Jonathan Kubor, Ibenanaowei of Bassan clan and HRH King Richard Seibarugu, Ibedaowei of Okordia kingdom.
Also present at the meeting were Chief A.M. Aduba, Deputy chairman, Rev. (Mrs.) Jane Alek, Amba Ambaowei, Dr. Hellen Opigo, Austin Lugbenwei and Chief Dennis Daunemugha, among others.