The People of the Udoda community in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State have cried out over consistent military air raids and invasions in the area.
The community, including the Paramount Ruler, HRH, Okaya Gospel, and the Youth President, Peter Francis who spoke on behalf of the protesters alleged that over 30 indigenes including a chief had been killed since the raids and attacks started in 2019.
According to the King, the community was deserted because people’s houses and valuables were burnt and stolen in the various invasions and attacks.
The traditional ruler accused surveillance contractors of securing pipelines that crisscrossed the community’s forest for their travails, noting that each time the people requested basic amenities, their voices were quelled with attacks and raids.
The protesters who gave the timelines of the attacks, 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. It has been happening since 2019. They came in 2019 with air raids. They burnt houses and killed people and rendered them 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.”
The King added that the community had not committed any offence to deserve such maltreatment and called on the Federal Government to come to their rescue.
“We need peace and we urge the government to come and renovate the burnt areas. We don’t have roads, lights, hospitals and basic amenities. People are dying of ill health in their hideouts. People can no longer sleep. They should call the military and the contractors to order.”
The Youth President, Peter Francis, who remarked that there were illegal bunkering activities in the forest, stressed that such illegal acts were not directly carried out in the community to warrant air raids and the killing of innocent people.
He urged the military and the contractors to direct their operations in the forest and stop venting their anger on innocent indigenes and destroying houses and properties.
He also posited that in the last attack, unknown soldiers aided by some hooligans ransacked people’s houses and stole over N30 million belonging to different people in the community.
Francis lamented: “There may be illegal bunkering in the bush but not inside the community. They didn’t go to the bush, they carried out air raids inside our community. They killed people right inside their houses. They tied a chief and threw him inside the river. Our community is deserted. We are crying to the government to call them to order.”