The Ijaw Youth Council has faulted the presence of the military in Niger Delta and insisted that there was no basis for deploying soldiers in the region.
IYC President, Mr. Eric Omare, lamented that the deployment of the military in the region would only bring sorrow to the people, adding that his group was not in support of it.
Omare, who spoke in an interview, pointed out that part of the reasons why violence was existing in the Niger Delta region was because of the presence of soldiers there.
Calling on the Federal Government to direct the soldiers to leave the region, the IYC president argued that government should address issues concerning the development of the region rather than bringing in troops to the place.
He said, “The deployment of military in the streets under any guise is not acceptable because what follows the deployment of military, especially in the Niger Delta is usually sorrow. This is because instead of restoring order as they would claim, they always visit violence on different communities.
“Violence in the Niger Delta region is partly as a result of the presence of military people everywhere. So, we do not support it; instead of deploying military people, the issues that affect Niger Delta should be addressed.
“Once that is done, the region will have peace and there will be security. The Federal Government should instead adopt a developmental approach rather than a military approach to the resolution of the Niger Delta problem.
“For an instance, the idea behind ‘Operation Crocodile Smile II’ is to prepare the military for any problem in the region. But what we are saying is that instead of preparing the military for operations in the region, what should be done is that those thing that are capable of leading to security breach should be addressed.
“Once you address them, there would be no need to prepare the military for any eventuality. You don’t need to prepare for eventuality, instead, do things that would prevent that eventuality. Again, instead of preparing for eventuality, there should be developmental preparation to avoid eventuality.”
Omare advised the people of the region to go about their normal businesses, adding that they should report any breach of their fundamental human rights to relevant authorities.
“Our advice to the people of Niger Delta is that they should go about their normal activities. But where there is any breach of fundamental human right, they should be able to bring it to the attention of the appropriate authority.
They should cry to the world and let the world know what is happening. But we are aware that there is a lot of human rights violation associated with military operations. There is no basis for military deployment in the Niger Delta region.