25 January 2015, Warri – The presidency, at the weekend, asked Ijaw communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, where ex-militants carried out a three-day bombing of crude oil and gas pipelines some weeks ago, to hand over to the security operatives, perpetrators of the bomb attack believed to be hiding in their areas.
The presidency also urged the communities not to entertain fear of bombardment by security agencies, but to demonstrate patriotism by handing over suspects behind the recent bombing.
The Presidential directive came through the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, yesterday, just as the JTF, which boasted, penultimate week, that it was closing in on the perpetrators, started arresting more suspects for interrogation at the weekend.
The crackdown on the suspected bombers by the task force heightened tension in most Ijaw communities with some leaders, the Ijaw Youth Council, Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, IPDI and others, calling on the government and task force to be lawful in their action.
Adesina said: “Ijaw communities need not fear. What they can rather do is to hand over culprits hiding in their midst to the authorities. If they have identified those who blew up pipelines, and who are taking refuge in their communities, as good citizens, they should hand them over to law enforcement agents.
“Ijaws are Nigerians and good ones too. They should not allow a little leaven to destroy the whole lump. Rather, they should demonstrate patriotism by giving up evildoers. Such exists everywhere, and the onus is on good people not to shelter them.
“There are rules of engagement for every operation, and you can be sure that the Nigerian military will do what is right,” he stated.
Spurning suggestion that the Presidency was out to disgrace ex-MEND leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, because of his alleged closeness to former president Goodluck Jonathan, he said: “The question of anybody being humiliated due to closeness to the former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan does not exist.
“This is not a vengeful government, and right on inauguration day, President Muhammadu Buhari had indicated that nobody needs fear that he would be out for vengeance. In his National Day broadcast on October 1 last year, the President also said people should not be afraid of his person, but fear the consequences of their actions. Therefore, nobody should fear humiliation on account of being close to anybody, as long as such person has clean hands.”
On whether the Federal Government was looking into the allegation by Tompolo that some chieftains of the All Progressives Congress, APC, were behind the bombing, he said: “The Presidency should not be looking into allegations, when already security agencies have been empowered and positioned to do so. Anybody can claim anything, and the President has too much on his hands to allow such to constitute distraction.”