19 January 2016, Warri – The Ijaw Youth Assembly, DIYA, has raised concern over the militarisation of Gbaramatu Kingdom in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State in the wake of the court order by a Federal High Court, Lagos, against former militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, coupled with the attack on oil installations by some aggrieved youths.
The group warned that if the current occupation by the military was not stopped, fleeing residents of the area would face serious humanitarian crisis and pose a problem to the state and the nation at large.
DIYA, in a statement in Warri, Delta State, by its President Ebimobowei Oguma, said that tension has heightened in all the communities in Gbaramatu Kingdom over fears of a repeat of what happened in 2009 when entire communities in the kingdom were bombed by the military as they searched for militants.
According to DIYA, hoodlums have taken advantage of the situation by breaking into the homes of residents and business premises of persons who had fled the town thereby causing untold hardship to the people.
It said: “Most of the residents who have fled their homes are already homeless, and we call on President Muhammadu Buhari to call the military to order to avoid an impending disaster and oppression of the peace loving people of Gbaramatu.”
The group said that all the communities in Gbaramatu are already ghost towns because of the heavy presence of the military personnel who were already acting in commando style, stressing that the rights and privileges of the people must be respected as anything that will bring a repeat of the events of 2009 when the military invaded Gbaramatu will not augur well for the state and the country.
It will be recalled that in 2013 a Federal High Court sitting in Asaba, presided over by Justice Buba declared the bombardment of Gbaramatu Kingdom in 2009 by the Joint Task Force as unconstitutional and awarded N100 billion against the Federal Government for the destruction of over 53 communities in the kingdom. The said sum has not been paid even as the military is poised to carry out further attacks against the people.