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The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide says the military invasion of Gelegele Community in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State over a deep seaport being constructed there by Governor Godwin Obaseki-led administration would spark crisis in the Niger Delta region.
The Ijaw Youths warned that the moves by Governor Obaseki to sack the Ijaw people who “are aborigines of Gelegele” from their homes over the Gelegele seaport project would trigger unprecedented crisis in the region.
President of the group, Eric Omare, a lawyer in a statement obtained by BIGPEN ONLINE on Friday said the Gelegele people informed the IYC that the military officers said that they are in the community to enforce a purported supreme court judgment.
While condemning “this unconstitutional use of the military to intimidate the Ijaw people of Gelegele Community”, IYC said there is no supreme court judgment which demand that the Gelegele people should be evicted under any circumstances.
The statement read in parts: “We are aware that the military build-up around Gelegele is the handiwork of the Edo State Government, the Oba Palace and the Brigade Commander of the 4 Brigade, Benin City, who is from Bini to send the Ijaw people, the aborigines of Gelegele, parking so as to have total control and carry out their ethnic agenda in the execution of the proposed Gelegele seaport in the community.
“It must be noted by the Nigerian people that part of the reasons for the planned forceful eviction of the Gelegele people is because of the resistance of the Ijaw people to the planned change of the Gelegele seaport to Benin River seaport as part of the ethnic agenda in collaboration with the Edo State Government.
“All efforts by the Ijaw aborigines of Gelegele to be given their respectful place as the host community to the Gelegele seaport project has been rebuffed by the Edo State Government that is supposed to serve the interest of all its citizens irrespective of the ethnic group.
“Therefore, we call on the Chief of Defence staff to call the Brigade Commander of the 4 Brigade, Benin City to order so as to prevent an avoidable conflict in Edo State and the Niger Delta region.
“We also once again warn the Edo State Government to behave like a state government with a mandate to protect all its citizens rather than an extension of a traditional institution within the state. Let it be on record that any attack on the Ijaw people of Gelegele would be stoutly resisted”, the statement warned.