By Timipreye Igali-ebiye
The Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide has denied reports that the Ijaws were behind the violent attacks on communities in Lagos and Ogun States by militants.
The group said those ascribing such criminalities to Ijaws were doing so to cause ethnic war between Ijaw and their Yoruba neighbours.
The President, IYC, Mr Udengs Eradiri, at a press conference in Yenagoa on Thursday asked the security agencies to flush out the perpetrators of Lagos violence and stop making public statements that could create ethnic tension.
Eradiri said, “There are some groups in Lagos engaged in criminal activities and those activities are now threatening the brotherly relationship our people have enjoyed in Lagos.
“First, Nigeria should stop ascribing anything that happens in the Niger Delta to Ijaw people. For the avoidance of doubt, Niger Delta Avengers are not Ijaw people. I am tired of answering questions about Niger Delta Avengers.
“I am the President of the Ijaw Youth Council. I am not the President of NDA. NDA people are not Ijaw people. We don’t know who Niger Delta Avengers are. If the security agencies know Avengers, they should arrest them. They should do their jobs.
“They should stop transferring their jobs to community leaders or youth organizations or leaders of ethnic nationalities. Their duty is to maintain law and order, to gather intelligence and do whatever they deem fit to ensure that there is peace in the country.
“Please, stop ascribing negative things to Ijaw people. We are the fourth largest ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and I agree that we are the people who refuse to eat sand and call it food. But that does not mean that every little thing that happens in the region will be ascribed to Ijaw people.”
Eradiri said attacks on Lagos communities had assumed a worrisome dimension.
He noted that all the criminal activities in communities hosting the Arepo Atlas Cove pipelines in Lagos and Ogun States were being perpetrated by thieves who were out to enrich themselves.
The IYC boss said there were widespread economic crimes along pipelines in the country, insisting that the Lagos scenario involved people from all the ethnic groups.
“So, Nigerians should stop ascribing it to Ijaw people. Ijaw people are peace-loving people. For over hundreds of years, our people have cohabited with other ethnic nationalities. We have never been known to be hostile people.”