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Iduoda Aerial Bombardment: 3years after, Schools, Churches remain closed (N/Delta Exclusive)

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The issue of aerial bombardment has now turned into an established norm and tradition in the Niger Delta region. It has been witnessed several times that the federal government and its military willfully moved into peaceful communities and bombed them on the slightest provocations.The Niger Delta’s various crises are case studies, where peaceful communities were bombarded with flimsy excuses that the area is harbouring militants or oil bunkering operations. But the reverse is the case in the northern part of the country, where all religious terrorists (Boko Haram, ISIS), bandits, herdsmen and kidnappers reside.Studies have shown that these terrorists live among the Communities in northern Nigeria but the federal government and the military are yet to bombard such communities in northern Nigeria.This is proof that operations of the Nigerian military are sectional, selective, biased and unprofessional in many cases.It is a common assumption that communities in northern Nigeria deserved more air raiding and military invasions following the constant killings, kidnapping, jailbreaks, invasion of communities by bandits, illegal possession of firearms and other terrorist activities in the North.Sadly, the Iduoda community in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State is among the hundreds of Niger Delta Communities that have suffered constant military raids in recent times.It was gathered that the Nigerian army and suspected thugs under the guise of oil surveillance workers in the area bombed the community at every interval.

It is a traumatic situation that after five years of the military aerial bombing of the community, schools and churches remained closed. It was discovered that the bombardment was related to alleged bunkering activities in the area but our crew who visited the community discovered that there were no bunkering activities in the community.The bombarding nearly turned the community into a desert in 2019. Many were killed, hundreds of houses burnt and survivors fled the community to date.

A probe into the incident proved that the two primary schools and about five churches in the community remained shut down as residents, pupils and worshipers fled to nearby communities, Yenagoa and Port Harcourt for safety.However, the community is an ancient community whose existence could be traced to 200years ago.A view canvassed among the elite of the Niger Delta region is that a community doing oil bunkering or oil bunker activities are done around a particular community is not enough ground to bombard or air raid such a community. Their argument is based on illegal mining activities in Zamfara and other Northern states where gold resources which are one of the national resources are freely stolen without any form of arrest and bombardments in such communities but rather the government provides security aid to illegal miners.It is equally a fact that gold resources are far more valued in the world economy than that oil, yet no action is taken against such criminals. In this regard, one begins to wonder for what justification the Iduoda community has been bombed and invaded constantly.Some few returned residents who briefed the Congress news crew during a visit to the community said they are living in constant fear, adding that lots of their sons had been killed in reoccurring invasions of the community.They appealed to the military and oil surveillance contractors to go to the area where the bunkering activities were being carried out and leave the community alone.They, however, pleaded with Rivers state governor Wike Nyesom to restore normalcy in the community and also call the military and oil contractors to order over their inimical move to wipe the community from existence.

The community narrated “Many people have died in these attacks and air raids. They used air raids to burn houses and kill innocent people. Recently they invaded this community and kill people.

The residents who gave timelines of the military constant raid said: “The military came in 2019 with air raids. They burnt houses and killed people and rendered us homeless.“On May 27, 2019, there was a raid in which people were killed. In November 2020 another air raid occurred in which a boy and other five people were killed.“On June 15, 2022, another attack occurred again and a chief was killed. On June 27, they entered the community and shot and killed people. They broke doors and stole money worth N30 million and people were rendered homeless. Over 30 people have been killed in these attacks.”