From: TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide, has called on the security agencies to unravel the circumstances that led to the killing of Joseph Izu, a Shooting Star of Ibadan player.
Izu was gruesomely shot death by some trigger happy soldiers at Okarki Town in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State on Sunday, October 16, 2016.
The group expressed worry about what it described as a “growing trend of senseless and wanton killing of Ijaw youths by security operatives.”
President of IYC, Elvis Donkemezuo, in a statement issued yesterday in Port Harcourt, called on the Niger Delta people to rise in condemnation of the extra-judicial killing, brutality and gross inhumanity.
“For the sake of emphasis, the primary assignment and responsibility of our Military is to protect the territorial integrity of Nigeria and not to maim and kill innocent, defenseless citizens like Joseph. We demand justice for the family of Joseph Izu,” IYC said in a statement.
Until his death, Joseph was a central defender for Shooting Stars Football Club (3SC) of Ibadan; a prominent and outstanding Beach Soccer player who made Nigeria proud in different international competitions.
“We want to also put it on records that as of today (we cannot speak for tomorrow) there is no militant camp inside Okarki Community or in Okarki bush. There was also no case of kidnapping, disturbance of the peace or unlawful gathering of any kind at Okarki before or on the day and time Joseph was murdered by the soldiers.
“So, we wonder what may have warranted the killing of an innocent, armless and defenseless youth who have done nothing but use his God given talent to serve his fatherland, save for a lust for blood and lack of respect for human life on the part of the soldiers.
“We are more angered by the fact that Joseph’s murder is coming at a time when we are still mourning Master Innocent Kokorifa – a17 year old Ijaw youth who was equally murdered by the Bayelsa Police, through a gang style execution in Yenagoa two months ago. Innocent’s Autopsy was conducted on Monday and he will be buried within the week”, the Council stated.
The youth group appealed: “We call on the President, Muhammadu Buhari, the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, the Inspector General of Police among others, to ensure that those behind this killing and that of other Innocent Niger Delta youths do not go unpunished.
“The Joint Military Taskforce (JTF), Operation Delta Safe, should live up to its name by ensuring that those who have taken the lives of the Niger Delta Youths like Joseph, it was meant to save, are not felt to get away with impunity.
“The failure on the part of the appropriate authorities to act and do so swiftly will lead to consequences that would have far-reaching effect on the interest of the Government.
“We urge all Ijaw youths to remain calm and law abiding as we have already set in motion the machinery to liaise with you to ensure that this is not swept under the proverbial carpets”.