Simon Utebor and Chukwudi Akasike
THE Ijaw Youth Council has demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of the soldiers that killed Mr. Joseph Izu, a player with 3SC of Ibadan, Oyo State.
Izu was killed by operatives of the Joint Military Task Force in Okarki, in the Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The IYC, in a statement signed by its spokesman, Mr. Eric Omare, on Wednesday condemned the murder of the footballer, describing it as an extra-judicial killing.
“We strongly condemn this barbaric and criminal conduct of officers of the Nigerian military and call on all lovers of humanity to join in the condemnation of this action.
“We also demand that the military officers, who carried out this extra-judicial killing, be brought to justice. President Muhammadu Buhari’s government’s claim to the rule of law is on trial.
“We sympathise with the Izu and Osuekina families who lost their loved ones, the people of Okarki community and the Ediro/Ogbologolo clan.”
The group said the excuse offered by the Nigerian military was “watery, provocative and insensitive.”
It said, “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 shoot and kill anybody found in a shrine.
“The reason given by the military Commander, Brig. Gen. Hamisu Hassan, that the late footballer was found in the wrong place was a weak effort at justifying the murder of Izu.
“In any case, to put the records straight, Joseph Izu was not found in any cultists’ shrine, but was shot dead in front of his family compound and dragged to the Okarki waterfront.”
The IYC challenged the Nigerian military to a guided tour with members of the media to the cultists’ shrine in Okarki community wherein the late Izu was killed, insisting that there was no such shrine in the community.
Also, a leader of the IYC, Elvis Donkemezuo, in a separate statement, condemned the growing trend of “senseless and wanton killing of Ijaw youths by security operatives” that were supposed to protect them from miscreants.
Dokenmezuo stated, “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, defenceless citizens like Joseph Izu. We demand Justice for the family of Izu.”
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