Again, a violent clash by rival Youth groups has led to the death of two youths in Ondewari community in the Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
The youth groups reportedly clashed over oil Pipeline Surveillance Jobs at the Nigerian Agip Oil Company oilfields .
Residents of the community, a coastal settlement in SILGA, are reportedly fleeing the community for safety due to the violent clash by the youth groups engaged in supremacy fight .
A renowned environmentalist, Mr. Alagoa Morris, an indigene of the community, said on Tuesday that the crisis , which had left the community deserted , began on December 30 , 2017 .
Morris, who is the Bayelsa State Coordinator , Environmental Right Action and Friends of the Earth Nigeria , regretted that the community lost two promising youths in the renewed clash .
He recalled that the crisis had earlier led to the death of two youths in July 2017, bringing the death toll to four.
He urged the relevant security agencies to urgently mobilise to the community in order to restore hope to the frightened residents.
Morris said , “Our pain is that this crisis was avoidable . The community leadership had cried out to the state government, drawing their attention to the raging issues bordering on pipeline surveillance jobs at oilfields within the area, but nothing had been done.
“ The situation would have been nipped in the bud, but here we are , four youths have been lost to the oil industry-induced conflict that has left the community in a mourning mood. It is unfortunate that the only interest is securing oil assets and human lives don’ t count .
“ I personally wrote a formal letter to the Department of State Services in Yenagoa and sought their intervention to avert further degeneration of the crisis when it started in July 2017 . If only they acted, this renewed bloodshed would have been averted.
“ Although I do not hold any leadership position, I participated in the process of seeking resolution to the crisis that engulfed my community.
“ We held meetings in my office in Yenagoa and engaged on media advocacy as well. So , the security agencies cannot claim to be unaware of the situation at Ondewari. ”
It was learnt that most of the residents who deserted their houses and fled the coastal settlement were taking refuge in bushes and farms.
They were said to have spent the New Year without food in their hideouts .
The acting Paramount Ruler of Ondewari Community, Chief Peresho Erefawari , who decried frequent clashes by armed youth groups , had reportedly urged the Bayelsa State Government to intervene to halt the bloodshed before the latest disaster occurred.
“ The clash was caused by protest from some youths in the community who are aggrieved over their exclusion in the petroleum pipeline protection jobs in the area. We have tried in vain to broker truce so that peace will prevail , ” Erefawari stated.
The spokesman for the Bayelsa State Police Command, Mr. Asinim Butswat, confirmed the youths ’ clash, but clarified that only two persons had lost their lives in the crisis .
Butswat , a Deputy Superintendent of Police , said , “ There was a clash. One death occurred sometime in June last year. It was the second one that occurred recently . Someone was arrested in connection with the murder which took place last year June .
“ As soon as the suspect was arrested , boys who are loyal to him went ahead and attacked someone in the community – one Okpotu .
“ We have been able to mobilise more personnel in Southern Ijaw to forestall the breakdown of law and order . ”
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