Press Release 3rd February, 2018
Published on TheBiafraPost

The attention of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide has been drawn to a plan by the Nigerian military to relaunch its destructive military drill, code named: Operation Crocodile Smile III in the Niger Delta region. If the rumour is true as the Chief of the Army Staff, Lt. Gen. Tukur Brutai was alleged to have dropped the hint in press briefing then we will see it as a declaration of war against Niger Delta people. We make bold to say that the Ijaw nation was at the receiving end of military unprovoked invasions through the previous military drills. The armed forces didn't achieved anything in the previous exercises other than to kill innocent people and destroy the peaceful Ijaw communities. We cannot forget in a hurry, the barbaric and a commando styled invasions of Ajapa, Safarogbo, Ajakurama, Inikorogha, Letugbene, Oporoza, Kurutie and other Communities in Bayelsa, Edo, Delta and Ondo States by the belligerent Nigerian armed forces in the name of Operations Crocodile Smile I and II.

Hundreds of Ijaw youths unlawfully arrested during the operations are still being unconstitutionally held incommunicado and have been incarcerated in various detention centres across the Country without even being charged to Court. The military in the name of these exercises has inflicted a devastating mayhem on our hearts and left with us an eternal terror of war. Was it not these same exercises that metamorphosed into a looting spree where the military invaded and looted the Ijaw communities to penury? The world should know that it was these same exercises that led to the uncivilized and most daring invasion of the revered Gbaramatu Kingdom traditional institution; the Palace and the holy Egbesu shrine which culminated in the looting of the sacred Egbesu sword and other valuable items worth billions of naira. Is the military has identified another target in the region that it is planning to invade and loot?

IYC will resist any attempt to relaunch this barbaric military drill in Ijaw land. We will defend our communities from further invasions by the Nigerian armed forces even if it means to stage a peaceful protest across the length and breadth of Ijaw land in Nigeria. We are not at war with the Nigerian government to be subjected to such trauma. Is Tukur Buratai telling the Niger Delta people that the region is in anyway under siege or being conquered by the Nigerian government in conventional combat? We fear that this Country is drifting towards the precipice. There is no crisis in the Niger Delta region or the South East that required another Operations Python Dance III and Crocodile Smile III. These are subtle declaration of war against these regions and they are provocative. President Buhari should not push this Country to a needless civil war. Thousands of Nigerians are being slaughtered like fowl by the terror herdsmen on a daily basis in the middle belt yet the military has not taken any dance step to the area. Why the South East and the Niger Delta regions are suited for military exercise? Is the Boko Haram conquered Sambisa Forest and the Fulani herdsmen terrorised Middle Belt region not good for the military exercise?

No amount of Crocodile Smile or Python Dance will cow the southern Nigerians from agitating for restructuring and true federalism. For us in the Niger Delta, our lives depend on resource control, true federalism, political autonomy and self-determination. We can never be intimidated by Buratai even if he commits genocide with his provocative military exercise.

Signed: Pereotubo Oweilaemi, Esq. IYC President, Worldwide

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