Military Invasion Of Ijaw House Reminder Of Dark Days Of Dictatorship, Says IYC

IYC12The umbrella body of Ijaw youths worldwide, the Ijaw Youth Council, has condemned the military siege to the Ijaw House in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, venue of a cancelled meeting called by ex-militant leader, Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo.
The Ijaw (Izon) House is a symbol of the Ijaw ethnic nationality as it serves as the administrative headquarters of the Ijaw National Congress, IYC, and accommodates the Bayelsa State Ministry of Ijaw National Affairs and Culture.
Following the announcement of ex-militant leaders’ meeting at the House, a combined team of military and police officers in the early hours of Friday invaded and took over the building and its environs to prevent the meeting from taking place on Saturday.
The Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, had earlier cancelled the meeting called by Tompolo, former leader of the defunct Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.
The Bayelsa Governor had said he would convene a meeting with the ex-agitators in no distant time to discuss issues affecting the Niger Delta and the whole country.
Reacting to the military siege, the IYC, in a statement by its spokesman, Eric Omare, said the development was illegal, unconstitutional and a sad reminder of the dark days of the military dictatorship, where Nigerians were deprived of their fundamental rights.
The group said, “The IYC wishes to remind the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari that we are in a constitutional democracy where things are done according to law.
“The 1999 Constitution, which is the foundation upon which our democracy is built, recognises the right to freedom of assembly and movement.
“The Niger Delta people, whether as ex-agitators or youth groups, have the right to assembly in a meeting and free movement.
“Since Friday, July 24, 2015, all officers and administrative staff of the INC and IYC, including Bayelsa State civil servants under the Bayelsa State Ministry of Ijaw National Affairs and Culture, have been denied access to the premises.
“This is a threat to our nascent democracy. Democracy is not only about having rice and beans to eat but the enjoyment of basic and fundamental rights which are enshrined and guaranteed in the constitution. The fears of many Nigerians that Buhari would take Nigeria back to the dark days of dictatorship, where there is no regard for human rights, are coming to reality”.
The IYC said it would take legal action to address the violation, noting that whether the president liked it or not, the Niger Delta people would meet to determine their destinies in Nigeria.

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