The Ijaw Elders Forum (IEF), Lagos State chapter, has called on the Federal Government to order an immediate withdrawal of the military from Rivers State back to the barracks.
The forum noted with dismay the alleged roles played by the security operatives in the March 9 governorship election and the attendant carnage in the state.
A statement signed by its Vice President, Atamuno Atamuno, and Secretary-General, Efiye Bribena, accused soldiers of colluding with political thugs to intimidate voters from exercising their franchise during the election.
“The military siege in Rivers State during the governorship election on March 9 is highly condemnable. The people should be allowed to exercise their civic responsibility without threat from the military authorities. The huge involvement of the military and police in Rivers State is uncalled for. We condemn in very strong terms the brigandage orchestrated by political thugs aided by the military. “In the past couple of weeks, several Ijaw communities, including Nembe-Bassambiri, Brass and Agbere and Oweikorogha in Bayelsa State and Abonema, Okrika, Bonny, Opobo and Degema in Rivers State were invaded by the military with wanton destruction of lives and property,” the statement said. The group, therefore, urged the appropriate authorities to investigate the allegations and bring the perpetrators to book.
“We demand that these brazen acts of lawlessness, abuse of office and the use of instruments of state for purposes other than the good of the people must be investigated and their perpetrators and collaborators brought to justice,” it added.
The statement further advised the political actors to eschew violence while pursuing their legitimate ambition.