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Daily Sun (Nigeria): Shell must bury our murdered kinsmen, Ijaw leaders insist

From EMMANUEL OGOIGBE, Warri
Saturday September 2, 2006 National Index 

Crisis is again looming in the Niger Delta as Ijaw Youths Leadership Forum have asked Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to take-over the responsibility of burying their fifteen kinsmen, including two Chiefs who were brutally massacred by the Joint Military Task Force, August 20 this year.

The dead bodies presently at a private morgue in Warri, Delta State were killed at Letugbene village in Ekeremor Local Government area of Bayelsa State.

Consequently, the forum, which is the umbrella body of all Ijaw youth organizations has therefore indicted the Anglo-Dutch Company of being the mastermind of the gruesome murder.

Hon. Kingsley Kuku, arrowhead of the forum is also bitter with Shell for denying complicity in the murderous act, which has brought sadness and sorrow to the Ijaw ethnic nationality.

Kuku, who is representing the Ijaws in the Ondo State House of Assembly, says for peace to reign, Shell must have to take the responsibility of burying the dead and to also mend fences with the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC) and Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND).

He gave a vivid account of how the gory incident started.

When it came to the notice of Ijaw leaders of the abduction of one Nelson Ejuya, a Community Liaison Officer with Shell Petroleum Development Company for almost three weeks, a fourteen (14) man team of highly respected Ijaw youth leadership forum with youth leaders of the host community met the hostage-takers and the victim was released without any conditionality.

Soon after the release, all those that took part in the release, including two Ijaw Chiefs boarded the same boat sailing to Warri but as soon as eight gun boat members of the Joint Military Task Force who laid ambush saw them, they opened fire, killing fifteen persons instantly. But, we don’t know of the whereabouts of the Nelson whom they all went to release.

“It is indeed a sad and unfortunate event especially as the boys killed by members of the Joint Military Task Force on Niger-Delta crisis were no sea pirate, neither were they criminals. They ought to have been commended by the Task Force for facilitating the release of the abducted Shell staff.

“We frown against the denial by Shell of not having a hand in the bizarre killing of our innocent kinsmen. Our people did not intend to release Mr. Nelson on financial grounds. The leadership forum wish that our struggles are not meant for criminal activities, because we believe our effort is receiving international recognition.

Following our regular appeals, the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger-Delta (MEND) has agreed to a ceasefire, watching the positive developmental trend that is on-going between Ijaw leaders and the federal government.

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