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Rivers shooting: Rights Activist, Patterson accuses military of deliberate shooting of Ijaw people with helicopter

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Niger Delta rights activist, and the spokesperson of Niger Delta Youth Association (NDYA) Worldwide, Rt Hon. Comrade Gabriel Patterson Unyeowaji has strongly condemned the intentional military chopper shooting of a local boat conveying passengers and food stuffs in Bonny Island in Rivers State on Thursday.

The activist in a press release signed by himself in Port Harcourt on Saturday, said the military deliberately targeted at the Rivers-Ijaw people along Bonny sea in the ugly incident.

He lamented that with the way the military is operating in Rivers State Internal Water-ways, he could not deny that the military is deliberately targeting Ijaws of Rivers extraction.

According to him, “Yesterday the 26th of August 2021 witnessed gory bloodletting on Bonny Sea when a military helicopter deliberately, and with precision, targeted a local boat conveying food items to Bonny mainland and it’s environs.

“For the avoidance of doubt, that has been the method of conveying food items, building materials and other household equipment to the Island and other adjoining Riverine Communities for generations”.

The statement reads: “How, the military could have opened fire on innocent travelers is what has baffled many. Even if the military reasonably suspects that petroleum products from local refineries may be on board, by common sense, the helicopter should have ordered them to stop or radio a gun boat to chase after them, rather than using helicopter to be shooting and killing innocent passengers and women in a gruesome manner.”

He noted: “The oil of the Niger Delta has become a source of existential threat to all ethnic groups in the Niger Delta particularly the Ijaws. If the Federal Government had agreed to legalize Local Refineries at least, it’s products will not be an item of hostilities as such will reduce Federal violence with real threat of loss of lives by our people.

“So far, two persons are said to have died while 3 persons sustained grievous degrees of injuries which will lead to amputations. The rules of engagement are clear and demand that the Military apply deadly force where there are grave hostilities against them but in this situation, there is no hostility towards the military from the local vessel rather it is a situation where the military deliberately and willfully opened fire on the local vessel on suspicion that it might have Local Refineries products on board.

“Such unreasonable and deadly force applied recklessly and viciously shows that the sets of Military Personnel currently deployed to Ijaw Areas of Nigeria have an agenda of wiping out Ijaw People. Considering the level with which the so-called Repentant Members of Boko Haram are being recruited into the military. I have no doubt that they’re serving a genocidal agenda.

“The authorities must do everything humanly possible to fish out the perpetrators of the dastardly genocidal act. Our resources will not be carted away together with our lives. Administrators of the Federal Government must prove to us that we’re still in a democracy and that all our fundamental human rights are guaranteed and protected”, he added.

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