JONATHAN URGES JTF TO PROTECT CIVILIANS
President Goodluck Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday urged the Joint Military Task Force (JTF) on the Niger-Delta, currently operating in Ayakoromor community in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State to ensure that the civilian population is protected.
Jonathan also expressed his sympathy to the families of all those who are currently displaced as a result of the JTF operation.
The Special Adviser to President on Media and Publicity, Ima Niboro, during a chat with State House Correspondents, commended the efforts of the JTF so far, especially in fishing out criminal elements in the region. He, however, advised that defenceless civilian population be protected, while the operation lasts.
According to him, the army also has a responsibility to protect the harmless civil populace.
While appealing for calm from those affected by the operation, he announced that government was prepared to immediately reduce the sufferings of identified innocent civilians and all those in need of one assistance or another.
The presidency directive was coming on the heels of widespread condemnation of the JTF raid of camps suspected to be harbouring John Togo, a militant leader currently on the run, which has led to some deaths, and the displacement of hundreds of people.
One of those already opposed to the operation was the former deputy speaker of Delta State House of Assembly and Secretary of Uduaghan Campaign Organisation, Chief Funkekeme Solomon who condemned the alleged killings by JTF, saying it was unacceptable in a democracy.
Chief Funkekeme called on the JTF to distinguish criminality from genocide and expressed regret over the embarrassment of Mr. President by John Togo' s and his group.