* LMC condoles with late Izu’s family, Shooting Stars
Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
Youths of Ijaw descent under the Ijaw Youth Council, (IYC) yesterday demanded that the military officers that killed Shooting Stars Football Club (3SC) defender, Joseph Izu and other youths from the Okarki community last Sunday must be fished out and made to face the law for the extra-judicial actions.
“We also demand that the military officers who carried out this extra-judicial murder be brought to justice. President Buhari and his government’s claim to the rule of law is on trial”, the IYC noted.
The IYC, headquartered in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said this yesterday while reacting to the shooting to death of the 24-year-old footballer who was allegedly killed by soldiers attached to the Joint Task Force, a special military outfit fighting militancy in the region.
The group further accused the Federal Government of treating the indigenes of the Niger Delta like animals and people of little importance.
Barely 48 hours after the sad incident occurred, the JTF’s Operation Delta Safe has not reacted officially to the killing as promised on Monday when newsmen first asked for their response to the allegation.
Spokesman of IYC, Eric Omare, insisted that the duo of Izu and Oko Osuekina were shot at very close range.
The Ijaw group disclosed that enquiries into the death of the late 3SC defender, and one Oko Osuekina of Okarki Community, Ediro/Ogbologolo Clan in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State showed that there was no justification for the killings.
While expressing condolences to the victims’ families, the IYC warned against continued military action in the Niger Delta which it said had led to several unnecessary deaths.
The group argued that the killing of the two men was symptomatic of the disdain with which the military treated the Niger Delta people.
“The corpse of Oko Osuekina, who was shot by the military officers on his forehead at the same time with Izu Joseph, was found floating on the Okarki River some few hours ago,” said the group yesterday.
According to the IYC, its leadership has been informed by the IYC Clan Chairman of Ediro/Ogbologbo Clan, Mr. Solomon Harrison, that the entire Okarki Community had become tense since the incident.
“The IYC is at a loss as to the justification for the military impunity in Okarki Community. The military is behaving as if the Ijaw people of Okarki are not human beings. Our people are being treated like animals that must be killed,” the group maintained, while decrying the alleged lack of professionalism in the handling of militancy in the oil-rich region.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the League Management Company (LMC), Shehu Dikko Monday afternoon spoke to the grieving Pa Reuben Izu, father of late Shooting Stars defender.
While commiserating with Pa Izu, Dikko assured the family that the LMC will support them and also spoke to the General Manager of 3SC, Rasheed Balogun.
On reading the report on a social media platform, Dikko had placed a telephone call to Pa Izu and afterwards to Balogun, the General Manager of 3SC.
“This is quite a shocking development. Players have been central to the new awakening of passion for the NPFL and all of them should live to see this league achieve full blossom.
“Well, death is also inevitable and will eventually come to all of us.
“On behalf of the entire NPFL family, please accept our heartfelt condolence and kindly extend our expression of sympathy to the family of the late Izu”, concluded the LMC chairman on a philosophical note.
He also charged Balogun to keep the LMC updated with information on the plans for the burial.
The late player joined 3SC in the 2013/14 season from Bayelsa United and had just completed his third season at the Oluyole Warriors.