Ijaw youths, drawn from the Nine States of the Niger Delta region, on Wednesday slammed the military authorities over the alleged unremorseful posture over the Sunday shooting to death of the Central Defender to 3sc football club, Izu Joseph.
The authrities of the 2nd Brigade of the Nigerian Army had yesterday in a statement issued signed by Brigade Commande Hamisu Hassan said the killing of the footballer occured during its regular operations against cultists, kidnappers and others criminals in aid of the civil authority in Rivers
Accordingly to the Military, “On Sunday, 16 October 2016, troops of the Brigade deployed at Akinima Ahoada East Local Government Area conducted a confidence building patrol in the general area of Igovia and Okarki villages. The patrolling troops indicated the presence of suspected cultists in Okarki village.”
“The troops moved in and raided the suspected criminal hideout. One person lost his life at the hideout while several others fled. Later, it was confirmed that the person who lost his life was a Nigerian Footballer, identified as Mr. Izu Joseph. Nevertheless investigation is ongoing to further determine why and what he was doing at the cultists’ shrine at that time. ”
“The Brigade will continue to sustain the current tempo of the operation against cultists, militants, kidnappers and other criminal elements to make the state safe for all law abiding citizens. In so doing, the Brigade will continue to be guided by the rule of engagement and respect for human rights.”
“Therefore, members of the public are enjoined to go about their lawful activities without any fear or hindrance. We enjoin all to provide credible and timely information that could lead to the arrest of criminals in the society.”
But the umbrella body of Ijaw Youths, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide described the response of the Military Authorities to the gruesome murder of Shooting Stars of Ibadan defender, Joseph Izu and Oko Osuekina at Okarki Community as callous and unremorseful.
According to the IYC, “The excuse offered by the Nigerian military is watery, provocative and insensitive to the families of those who lost their believed ones and their community members. Assuming without conceding that Joseph Izu was found in a cultists’ shrine, the IYC is not aware of any Nigerian Law which empowers military officers to shot and kill anybody found in a shrine.”
“The reason given by the military commander is a weak effort at justifying the murder of Izu and Oko in Okarki Community.In any case, to put the records straight, the late Joseph Izu was not found in any cultists’ shrine but was shot dead in front of his family compound and drag to the Okarki waterfront.”
” We challenge the Nigeria military to a guided tour with members of the media to the cultists’ shrine in Okarki community wherein the late Joseph Izu was killed. There is no such shrine in the community as the people of Okarki are peaceful people without no record of been known for cult activities.”
“To add salt to injury, the Nigerian military confirmed that military officers killed Joseph Izu and Oko Osuekina but did not even offer apology to the family of the deceased. Instead all that the military and other security agencies have been trying to do is to cover up the extra judicial killing by their officers.”
“Brig. Gen. Hassan in his statement said that they are investigating what Izu was doing in the cultist shrine instead of investigating and bringing to justice the military officers who perpetrated this criminal and despicable act. In furtherance of their efforts to cover up the killing, the President of IYC, Udengs Eradiri has received several calls from security agencies accusing the IYC of trying to organize protests which would lead to breakdown of law and order.”
“Once again, the IYC demand that the military officers who killed Joseph Izu and Oko Osuekina should be fished out by the military authorities and be made to face the law. The IYC would use all legally available means to get justice for Joseph Izu and Oko Osuekina and would neither be deterred nor intimidated in our quest for justice.”