ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The leadership of Igbomotoru community in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State have protested against the alleged killings of indigenes of the community by security operatives attached to a surveillance contractor with the Nigeria Agip Oil Company (NAOC).
The protest came on the heels of the community’s call on the state government and relevant security agencies to order the immediate withdrawal of soldiers allegedly stationed in a houseboat in the area.
The community members also claimed that the continued presence of soldiers in the community was causing panic as indigenes and inhabitants now live in constant fear and trepidation.
The community leaders in a statement on Monday by the Acting Paramount Ruler, Chief Goodluck Alagodei; Chairman of Community Development Committee (CDC),
Ebipamunu Charles; Vice Chairman, CDC, Goodnews Otobo; Secretary, CDC, Justice Pronto, alleged that no fewer than four youths had been killed previously.
The community leadership lamented that the since June 22, 2022, the community had experienced an unprovoked invasion and attack by armed security operatives allegedly attached to a surveillance security firm, contractor to NAOC.
They called on the state government and security agencies to act fast to ensure the withdrawal of the military.
They expressed fear that there could be more killings, maiming and raping of the indigenes, burning of houses and destruction of properties of the situation was not contained urgently.
They added that 12 members of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) serving in the community had left them, leaving only three who would most likely leave the community.
They alleged: “On the 22nd of June, 2022 there was an unprovoked invasion and attack on the Igbomotoru community by armed military men attached to Agip surveillance contractor who came in on six gunboats and 5 speedboats.
“The security operatives were led by one Guyman Alex Bekewari. They came shooting indiscriminately into the community leaving many indigenes with grievous harm and wounds, burning down buildings and carting away cash belonging to indigenes and causing great pandemonium.
“Future likely events if the state government and the security agencies do not act fast, there will be more killings of indigenes of Igbomotoru community by the military aided by the surveillance contractor.
“The continued presence of the fully armed security operatives have made 12 corps members serving in the community to leave, leaving only three corps members who will most likely leave the community.
“Before the invasion and the continued occupation by the military personnel, those corps members have lived their quiet and peaceful lives in Igbomotoru community going about fulfilling their primary assignment. The corps members were the ones doing much of the teaching in the schools and with their leaving, the educational system in Igbomotoru will collapse.”
When contacted, spokesman for Bayelsa State Police Command, SP Asinim Butswat, said there were no policemen in the community and its leadership had not reported the incident to the police.