Military Crackdown on Bandits: MOSOP Call for Restraint, Accuses Military of Criminal Connivance

The Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) wishes to call on the Nigerian military authorities particularly the Nigerian Army to exercise some restrain in the handling of the crises involving some bandits and security men in Ogoni.
MOSOP is deeply concerned about the lives and properties of innocent community dwellers especially the residents of affected communities including Gio and Kira in Tai local government area, K-Dere and B-Dere in Gokana local government area of Rivers State and other adjourning communities affected by the crises.
While we strongly condemn the action of pipeline vandals and the effects of their actions on the environment, we feel that the army cannot criminalize entire communities for the crimes of a few which they have aided.
MOSOP is appalled by the unrestricted military action as we maintain that the action of pipeline vandals could not have been conducted so profoundly without the cooperation of security men in Ogoniland. We regret that our earlier warnings were neglected leading to a deteriorating situation.
It is indeed disappointing that the government through HYPREP have recently encouraged these illegal activities by turning a blind eye despite the full knowledge of those involved in these illicit business.
The seemingly unrestricted flow of weapons into all parts of the country also clearly indicates the failures on the part of those who manage our security system and their capacity to protect Nigerian citizens.
MOSOP therefore call for an overhaul of the security operations in the Ogoni area to focus on crime detection and prevention rather than waiting until things get out of hand and then unleashing violence against the innocent citizens and residents whose living conditions are already very pathetic.
Moreover, we are aware that the criminals sought are not the same persons suffering the brutality of soldiers and so consider the military crackdown as misplaced and therefore should be halted.
While we sympathize with the families of the soldier and other security personnel who reportedly lost their lives, we urge the military to realize that their ultimate responsibility is to protect lives and properties.
We call for a commission of inquiry into pipeline vandalism and illegal oil refining in Ogoni to unravel the deep connivance between the security operatives and criminals gangs. We are convinced that an investigation will unravel and justify the reasons why illegal oil refining have flourished in the Niger Delta despite efforts to halt the illicit business.
Finally, we urge the authorities to enhance Police effectiveness in Ogoniland to checkmate incidences of criminality. This can be achieved by establishing more stations and Police stop and check points throughout Ogoniland.
Dcn. Monday Neeka Ziinu
General Secretary