We‘re ready to confront FG on true federalism, militarisation of our communities- Ijaw youths

IJAW youths from across the Niger Delta weekend their readiness to confront the federal government over the region’s demand for resource control in line with the practice of true federalism and the continued militarisation of Ijawland and the Niger Delta communities.

Rising from a consultative meeting held in Yenagoa, the youths under the auspices of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide also listed the contentious water resources bill, gas flaring in the troubled region among as some of the issues that were deliberated on.

However, the meeting, chaired by the President of the IYC, Comrade Peter Igbifa and attended by the zonal leaders and elders of the council, including past presidents and deputy presidents of the council, resolved that a final position on their demand for equity and justice will be unveiled at the end of the ongoing consultations with various ethnic groups and governors.

Speaking at the end of the meeting, Comrade Igbifa, said though the council is undergoing a consultation with Ijaw stakeholders, Ijaw youths are ready to take their destiny into their hands and confront the Federal Government on the contentious issues of true federalism, restructuring and the militarization of the Ijaw communities.

“As the fourth largest ethnic nationality in the country, we have a wide range of consultation to do. For sure, we have issued statements and taken a position that our people should take their destiny in their own hands.

“We have said the issue of resource control is key to us. God not being mad has gone to Zamfara to give them gold and help them to tap their resources and sell. So, we are also preparing ourselves to take our crude oil in our own hands and sell our crude oil to make our society what it ought to be.

“And the consultations is preparing our house and putting ourselves ready for what is ahead of us. We have said severally that no life will be lost in the course of taking our destiny in our own hands. In our last meeting, I said the military should not prepare for war because with these consultations we want to put an end to the militarization of Ijaw communities.

“The military excesses have become unbearable and under the guise of chasing oil criminals, they go around Ijaw communities and burn down homes. They run around freely in Ijaw communities and burn down houses. They have taken away the people’s rights and destroy the ecosystems. Then they come again and chase the people.

“When you say there are criminals in Ijaw communities, you can go there and let us see the criminals. We say there should be no more razing down of Ijaw communities. You saw what the #EndSARS protesters pushed for? It was an end to brutality. So, we have suffered more than any other ethnic group when it comes to the brutal force of the military on communities.”

Also speaking, the Spokesman of the IYC, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe noted that the position of Ijaw youths on various contentious issues of resource control, restructuring and many other will be a watershed for the country in the next few weeks.

“Nigeria at the moment is at a cross road and the Ijaw youths are ready to make their demands known to the Federal Government. The Ijaw youths are more ready and united to confront the challenges in the next few weeks,” he said.

EndSARS crisis: Navy arrests 41 suspected looters, recovers looted items worth over N100m

Operatives of the Nigerian Navy Beecroft, Apapa Lagos, have arrested 41 suspects in connection with the invasion of the Nigerian Ports Authority headquarters, Marina, last week , where vehicles and valuables were razed.

The suspects were also alleged to be behind looting of many warehouses and private apartments in Surulere , Orile, Ijora Apapa, Costain and Amukoko areas of the state.

Recovered from them were items ranging from fabrics, electronics , truck parts , a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV , stolen from the NPA headquarters and two trucks loaded with the stolen items and palliatives .

One of the trucks loaded with the stolen items was on the verge being driven outside Lagos, apparently to sell at give away prices to ready buyers when the operatives intercepted it under the Iganmu bridge.

The operation which was carried out in response to the civil unrest that greeted the hijack of the #EndSARS protest according to the Commander, NNS Beecroft, Commodore Ibrahim Shettima, was conducted under the Lagos State Security architecture code named OP MESA which designates, Apapa, Orile, Ijora, Costain, Surulere, Mile 12, and Amukoko , as the Area of Responsibility, for the Nigerian Navy.

Parading the suspects and recovered items before journalists yesterday at the NNS Beecroft parade ground, the Base Operations and Acting Executive Officer of the NNS BEECROFT, Commander Andy Zidon, who represented Commodore Shettima, said, “In the course of carrying out our task, the Base conducted patrols and took all necessary measures within the ambits of the Law as well as Internal Security Standard Operating Procedure for the Armed Forces of Nigeria to help restore peace and order.

This necessitated working with sister services as well as other law enforcement agencies including the Nigerian Police.

“In this regard, NNS BEECROFT deployed her personnel to Tincan Island Port and Apapa Wharf to safeguard those critical national assets.

Furthermore, additional personnel were deployed to secure all NNPC installations at Tarkwa Bay Island including Terminals/Tanks Farms and the Atlas Cove Jetty.

Furthermore, Harbour Patrols were conducted around the Ports and Lagos Anchorage to prevent miscreants from attacking visiting merchant vessels.

“NNS BEECROFT also assisted in securing

the Nigerian Port Authority Headquarters at Marina after the building was invaded by hoodlums who looted and put fire to the building.

Own personnel responded quickly on receipt of a distress call by the management”.

Arrest

“On deployment, our personnel arrested some of the hoodlums and evacuated some NPA staff to the Base, some of which required medical attention.

Nigerian Navy personnel are currently deployed at the HQ.

Furthermore, the Base working in conjunction with NPA security also recovered a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV stolen from the HQ. The vehicle is currently in the Base for safe custody.

”In the course of carrying out its activities within this period, the Base conducted over 200 active patrols and responded to over 50 distress calls from citizens and organizations.

In the course of the operation, 41 individuals were arrested for partaking in various criminal acts, including looting and attacks on innocent citizens of the state.

“Furthermore, a large number of looted items were recovered at various locations across our Area of Operations and evacuated to the Base.

These items include vehicles, household appliances, industrial equipment, food stuff, clothes, jewelries and bicycles estimated at over 100 million Naira.

In fact, a large truck and Mini Bus were also discovered loaded with looted items about to be taken out of the State. NNS BEECROFT is currently working with the Lagos State Government for the handover of the items and their return to the rightful owners”, he stated.

Owners identify recovered items

Some of the owners of the recovered items were around to identify them.

One of them, Abubakar Mohammed ,disclosed that his shop located on Apapa road Ijora was invaded twice with truck parts worth over 17 million carted away.

He said: “ I was helpless.

There was nothing I could do because of their number. I watched helplessly as they made away with my goods.

“When I saw the Navy patrolling, I told them what happened and they went after the hoodlums. Some of the items which included :gear box, transmission axis have been recovered but there are still more out there”.

On her part, Seun Onigbode , disclosed that two of her textile shops in Lekki and Surulere were invaded and fabrics which monetary value she could not immediately give, carted away.

Though she expressed gratitude to the Navy over the recovery of some of the fabrics but said more were still out there.

Some of the suspects whose ages were between 11 and 13 years according to

Commander Zidon ,were released to their parents after profiling .

He added that the Base would serialize the item and that it was also working with community leaders in Surulere , to ensure that the recovered items were returned to the right owners, latest, mid next week.

#ENDSARS Protest: We’ve footage of Oct 20 Lekki shooting, LCC tells Judicial Panel

The Management of the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) yesterday told the Lagos State Judicial Panel of Inquiry on Restitution for Victims of SARS and Related Abuses and Other Matters that the footage of the Oct 20 shootings of the #EndSARS protesters by officers of the Nigerian Army was available.

This is just as five bullet shell casings were found by the panel at the scene of the shooting. The panel later visited Ikoyi Military Hospital mortuary, controlled by 65 Battalion, to inspect it following an intelligence information that the facility could help the panel in the investigation of the shooting of the protesters

At the visit to the toll gate scene, the nine-man Judicial Panel headed by Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd) saw the bullet shell casings as part of its investigations into the incident. Also in attendance were Mr Abayomi Omomuwa, the Managing Director of the Lekki Concession Company (LCC) and Mr Gbolahan Agboluwaje, the Head of the Legal Department of LCC as well as newsmen.

Some five bullet casi


ngs were seen on the floor, inside the drainage and the stairs of the Tollgate plaza by people present there.

Omomuwa, during the visit, told the panel that the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras mounted on a mast at the toll gate area was working during the shootings. He, however, noted that though the footage of the happenings of October 20 had been captured by the CCTV, it was currently not working due to damage caused by hoodlums during the carnage of Oct. 21.

On the panel’s return to the venue of its proceedings, Justice Okuwobi said that the panel had made observations and had asked questions at the scene.

She also noted that the panel had not admitted the Oct. 20 footage as evidence and when it is admitted in evidence, it will be played at the proceedings.

On the Panel’s visit to the Military Hospital, military personnel had initially denied the panel members and newsmen access to the medical facility unless a directive came from the higher authorities. After about thirty minutes of keeping members of the panel waiting outside the hospital, they were later allowed inside and taken round one of the newly renovated buildings in the premises.

A member of the panel, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa SAN, said they were at the Military hospital, not just on the authority of the governor of Lagos state, but also that of President Muhammadu Buhari.

Adegboruwa said, “you will recall that it was the National Executive Council NEC, that gave the directive that this panel should be set up, so we are only following due process and it’s good that we just inspect the mortuary to make our findings before going back to make our relevant conclusions”.

He said this while the panel was waiting for the military to allow them access into their facility.

When asked what the panel would do if the military still refused to allow them access, he said, “we would take up other options, there are other options open to us, if we are not allowed access, we can’t force ourselves on them, if they don’t allow us access we would go back and take other options.

Adegboruwa further said that they had confidential information that facilities at the Military hospital in Ikoyi, may be relevant to their investigation.

“We have confidential information that facilities at the Military Hospital in Ikoyi here may be relevant to our investigation, we have a pathologist with us and our interest is to inspect the hospital’s mortuary, we don’t know what we would find there.

“The visit to the Military hospital absolutely has something to do with the Lekki event of the 20th of October 2020, and like I said, we have no conclusion in our minds as to what we would find here. But we have intelligence to the extent that our work requires that we inspect the mortuary of the military hospital of here.

“As you have heard them say this hospital is controlled by 65 battalion and we have also taken steps to be able to reach the authorities of the 65 battalions and the 82 division on Kofo Abayomi, so we have options if we are not allowed access.” Adegboruwa said.

When asked if it was possible to inform the authorities ahead of time next time, Adegboruwa said “that would have defeated our purpose, we just got the information impromptu, we could not give them notice because of the importance of what we wanted to do, it is an investigation, if we give them notice ahead of time, that may jeopardise the essence of the investigation

“We have no conclusion that there is anything amiss, it is an intelligence that is leading us to investigation, so we really don’t have any evidence to say whether there is anything or not, our own is verification through investigation.”

Meanwhile, at the resumed proceedings of the panel yesterday, the head of the legal department of LCC, Mr Gbolahan Agboluwaje told the panel that they had no legal representation as they got the letter of invitation from the panel late on Wednesday.

He said “when we received the letter on Wednesday we discovered that three things were required, which are the footage, the investigation report and any other document. We have the footage, we have not done the investigation report and we don’t have other documents”.

Agboluwaje then asked for an adjournment to enable them get a legal representation as they couldn’t get any since they got the letter late on Wednesday.

“We would be happy if we are given time to get a legal representation, we got a very short notice” he said.

When the Chairman of the panel Justice Okuwobi asked if they had the footage, Agboluwaje said ‘Yes we are prepared to show the footage.”

Mr Abiodun Owonikoko SAN, also announced his appearance at the proceedings to represent Lagos State government. He said, “I have the instructions to represent the Lagos state government in this proceeding.”

Justice Okuwobi said: “Until he (Agboluwaje) is represented by a counsel, we would not take his testimony, no person would be denied having any legal representation of his choice, but they should bear in mind the terms of reference of this panel”.

The proceeding was thereafter adjourned till Tuesday.

Members of the Panel are Justice Doris Okuwobi (Rtd), Chairman of the panel, Rinu Oduala, Temitope Majekodunmi, other members of the panel are Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, Director, Lagos State Directorate of Citizen’s Rights, Mrs Oluwatoyin Odusanya; a representative of the civil society groups Ms Patience Udoh, and a human rights activist, Lucas Koyejo the Zonal Coordinator (South-West Zone) – National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Mr Segun Awosanya (Segalink).