IJAW YOUTH COUNCIL CONDEMNS KILLINGS AND BURNING OF ODI, CALLS ON OIL COMPANIES TO VACATE IJAWLAND
1, Aggrey Road, Port Harcourt, Niger Delta, Nigeria
Wednesday, November 24, 1999
IYC CONDEMNS KILLINGS AND BURNING OF ODI, CALLS ON OIL COMPANIES TO VACATE IJAWLAND.
The Central Leadership Council of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) today called on all oil companies operating in the Ijaw areas of the Niger Delta to cease oil exploration and exploitation activities and vacate the area. The call is a reaction to the killings of innocent Ijaws and the destruction of Odi community by Nigerian soldiers deployed to the area on the orders of the Nigerian government.
The rampaging soldiers have killed in Odi and nearby communities over 200 people. The soldiers also forcefully evacuated over 2000 residents of Odi and neighboring communities to the Army Barracks at Elele in Rivers State, where the people are being kept as prisoners.
"We are opposed to the situation where mass murder of Ijaws by Nigerian soldiers will be ordered by the government to protect oil activity" said the President of the IYC, Felix Tuodolo. "It is clear to us that the whole operation was designed to instill fear on the Ijaw and stop the mass of our suffering people from continuing our peaceful struggle to end the degradation of our lands and creeks by transnational oil companies and the Nigerian state. We insist that oil companies should not continue to operate in our communities under the cover of soldiers of occupation".
In a message to Ijaw Youths in all communities in Ijawland, the IYC President called on all Ijaws to act to stop the humiliating conditions of environmental degradation and impoverishment.
Several organisations and individuals in the Niger Delta, Nigeria and the world have condemned the killing and destruction of communities by Nigerian troops, pointing out that what is needed are measures aimed at addressing the root causes of the crisis. Rights groups say that an action aimed at apprehending suspected criminals should not lead to indiscriminate killings of the innocent.
The IYC and other peoples organisations in the country
continue to call for a Sovereign National Conference to discuss ways of
restructuring the Nigerian state into a federation that grants constituent
nationalities some level of autonomy, including community right to ownership
and control of land and natural resources.