Simon Utebor, Yenagoa
The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, has condemned the military for killing Joseph Izu, a defender with the Shooting Stars of Ibadan, Oyo State.
The player was reportedly killed by soldiers of 2 Brigade of the Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt, at Okarki, a border community in Ahoada East Local Government Area of Rivers State, at a close range.
Reacting to the killing, the IYC in a statement by its spokesman, Eric Omare, described as provocative the response of the military that the late footballer was found in the wrong place at a cultist’s shrine, hence his extra judicial killing.
The group said the excuse offered by the Nigerian military was watery, provocative and insensitive to the family of Joseph Izu, who lost their beloved one and their community members.
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, the late 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.
It said the people of Okarki were peaceful people without any record of being known for cult activities.
The group added, “To add salt to injury, the Nigerian military confirmed that military officers killed Joseph Izu but did not even offer apology to the family of the deceased.
Instead all that the military and other security agencies have been trying to do is to cover up the extra judicial killing by their officers.
“Brig. Gen. Hassan in his statement said that they are investigating what Izu was doing in the cultist’ shrine instead of investigating and bringing to justice the military officers who perpetrated this criminal and despicable act.”
The group said in furtherance of the military efforts to cover up the killing, the President of IYC, Udengs Eradiri, had received several calls from security agencies accusing the IYC of trying to organise protests which would lead to breakdown of the law and order.
Also, a leader of the IYC, Elvis Donkemezuo, in a separate statement, totally 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.
The post IYC condemns soldiers’ killing of footballer appeared first on Punch Newspapers.
Simon Utebor, Yenagoa