Ijaw Women Give FG Seven-Day Ultimatum To Release Their Sons
Hundreds of Ijaw women and students of Gbaramatu extraction on Wednesday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to release 10 youths allegedly arrested by operatives of the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) during their search for members of the Niger Delta Avengers militant group in Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta.
They claimed that the youths were not members of the Niger Delta Avengers nor militants but students who were preparing for the West African School Certificate examination.
Speaking on behalf of the women, Mrs. Veronica Tanbowei, national leader of Ijaw women, accused the Federal Government of oppressing the people of Gharamatu by wrongfully labeling their children as militants.
“If the Federal Government comes out and tells us that they have killed our children, then they should be ready to kill all of us. We are giving them seven days’ ultimatum and if they do not allow us to see our children, we all will march to Abuja and they will kill all of us.
“Buhari’s government has sent the army to kill our children, but today we are asking them to bring back our children. They should bring our innocent children back to us”, she said.
Tanbowei alleged that the youths were dragged out of their beds in the middle of the night and whisked away to an unknown location, where they have remained incommunicado, and they later read in the papers that their children were militants, which is not true.
The women, therefore, called on government to release their children or be ready to arrest all Gbaramatu women when they stage a mass protest in Abuja after the expiration of the ultimatum, saying they deserve the right to know the whereabouts of their wards.
“For the past two months, the army has taken over our community. When they came, they took some of our children away saying that they were members of Avengers. They are not members of Avengers; they are ordinary students and cooks.
“For the past two months, we have not heard from these children. If you arrest somebody, why don’t you take them to court? In this case, it is not so, and we believe that they have killed our children. They should bring our children back to us.
“I know that the police and the army a liars. They arrested our innocent children and put guns in their hands and labelled them criminals. Our police can just arrest somebody and plant guns on them and write petitions against them,” she said.
On his part, Comrade Freeborn Abraye, national assistant secretary of Gbaramatu Students’ Association, told newsmen that the arrest of the students by the military was the height of oppression against the people of Gbaramatu.
He said, “Most of the people arrested are students of Gbaramatu Grammar School, Okporoza. They were all whisked away while they were sleeping. Most of them were supposed to write the last SSCE exams but because of the arrest they could not write it.
“These students are suffering for what they do not know anything about. It is now 46 days and we have not heard anything about them. We do not know how they are faring over there nor do we have a clue where they are. We are calling on the Federal Government to release our students because they are not members of Niger Delta Avengers.
“We are appealing to President Buhari to release these students. They have missed their exams and they are now missing classes.”