ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The Acting Paramount Ruler of Igbomotoru Community of Bayelsa State, Chief Goodluck Alagodei, has decried the continued occupation of their communities by armed military personnel.
Alagodei appealed to the Bayelsa State Government, the Federal Government and the international community to intervene urgently to rescue his people from the seige.
He claimed that since the security operatives stormed his domain, they had allegedly intimidated his people and destroyed millions of naira worth of property.
At a press conference in Yenagoa, the state capital on Saturday, the monarch said with the siege to their communities, the security personnel working in cahoots with an oil major, Nigerian Agip Oil Company (NAOC), had made life unbearable for law-abiding members of the area.
Alagodei stated: “With deep pains in our hearts and from a state of near complete helplessness, we the leaders and bonafide representatives of Igbomotoru 1 and 2 communities in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State, hereby call on the state government, the Federal Government of Nigeria and the international community to urgently intervene and bring the situation under control.
“The ongoing siege and persistent dehumanisation in our Igbomotoru 1 and 2 communities are being perpetrated by armed military personnel and their cohorts believably acting on the directives and instructions of Agip and the security surveillance contractor to the oil firm.
“It is worthy of note that our decision to resort to this medium for help stems from the fact that in a letter dated 6th July, 2022, we had written to the organs of government of the state and federal levels on the same issues but have not got any response of any kind.
“The non-response to our letter has made the activities of these armed military personnel and their cohorts to continue their excesses. Their act of siege and dehumanisation have only gotten worse.
“While we do not have any quarrels with military personnel providing security in any part of Nigeria, including our Igbomotoru 1 and 2 communities, it is not in dispute that they are expected to keep to their standard code of conduct and maintain international best practices. It cannot be a means to subject our people to dehumanisation.
“Since these armed military personnel and their cohorts stormed our communities for reasons best known to them, they have acted in the most condemnable manner, intimidating our people and destroying properties worth sizable sums of money.”
The monarch feared that if the situation was not contained in good time, the development might trigger breakdown of law and order with its undesirable consequences.
He added:” As of today, our poor and hapless women are beaten and harassed by these armed military personnel. Living and doing business in our communities is now virtually impossible.
“With properties destroyed and businesses frustrated, life in our communities has returned to the Hobbessian state of being short, nasty and brutish. There has to be an end to all of these sad tales hence our cry to the whole world.
“We have pictorial and video evidence of these actions. Accordingly, we urge the state and the federal government and the international community to act before our communities are rendered desolate.”