IJAW NATIONAL ALLIANCE OF THE AMERICAS (INAA) CHALLENGES NIGERIAN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT'S ACCOUNT OF MILITARY OPERATIONS IN ODI TOWN, BAYELSA STATE
COUNCIL OF IJAW ASSOCIATIONS
2811 McKee Road, #133F
San Jose, CA 95127
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, November 23, 1999
The statement by Nigeria's Federal Government that the deployment of forces at Bayelsa State was at the instance of Governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha does not add up. The inevitable consequences of such a military siege, as confirmed in the news media, is massive death and destruction, suffered mostly by the innocent (the elderly, women and children) who constitute a majority. Governor Alamieyeseigha is very much aware that besides the innocent casualties that beget such an attack, sending troops to the area has the potential to further inflame the situation. Accordingly, he vowed not to deploy soldiers in the area. When this same governor, who only few days ago, made such an opportune decision is now credited with another adversely contradictory declaration, two conclusions are inevitable: (1) The Federal Government is not forthright with the truth or (2) Governor Alamieyeseigha is a victim of Federal Government coercion.
President Obasanjo had made up his mind to invade Bayelsa
State, after the reported killings of law enforcement officers at Odi.
His letter to the Bayelsa State Governor containing a 14-day ultimatum
clearly indicated the "muscle" President Obasanjo threatened to flex with
Governor Alamieyeseigha. Perhaps, Obasanjo has realized in hindsight, that
he would have been more diplomatic in coercing Governor Alamieyeseigha.
And in an apparently belated "diplomatic" move, President Obasanjo has
succeeded in jawboning Governor Alamieyeseigha to take repsonsibility for the troops who are now let loose to kill, loot and destroy at Bayelsa State. This ploy is a deliberate attempt by Obasanjo to ferment intra-Ijaw disunity and dissension. Most Ijaws, however, realize that Obasanjo is solely responsible for the destruction of life and property going on in Bayelsa State.
President Obasanjo should realize that we are keenly watching
as he plays politics with people's lives. With the characteristic ill-advised
measures that have caused the current and enduring impasse, Obasanjo's
every-step is an indication of his determination to maintain the status
quo engendered by his civilian and millitary predecessors. Like his predecessors,
Obasanjo fails to realize that he can only win the combat without winning
the war. The road to winning the "war" is a SINCERE demonstration to redress
the decades of socio-economic injustices imposed on the Ijaw and people
of the Niger
Delta. Again, we are watching; the whole world is watching!
Joseph Miebi Ebiware, President.
Matthew Oruowei Sikpi, Vice President
Dawari Longjohn, General Secretary
Sepribo Lawson-jack, Public Relations Officer.
Affiliated Associations:: Ijaw Peoples Association Of Great Britain &
Ireland, Ijaw National Alliance Of The Americas - INAA, Ijaw Forum Germany,
Izonebe Group - Japan, Izon Ebi Association - Washington DC, Izon Association
Of Greater Kansas - Kansas City, USA - Niger Delta Sister Cities (KC - PH)
Foundation, Kansas City, Ijaws Of Northern California - INCAL, Izon
Association Of Southern California, Izon Ibe Association - Michigan, Ijaws in
Canada, Ijaw United Fund - Houston, Texas, Ijaw American Caucus -
Minneapolis/St Paul, Bayelsa State Union - Georgia, Independent Members.