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Nigerians condemn FIFA photojournalist calls for genocide in Delta



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FIFA-accredited Nigerian sports photojournalist Sulaiman Pooja Adebayo has been berated sternly by Nigerians over his call for the killing of men, women, and children in the Okuama community in Delta State, Nigeria. 

Pooja, in a now-deleted tweet, called for the Nigerian Army to “level,” which means to ‘annihilate’ the Okuama community in the Bomadi Local Government Area of Delta State, following the killing of 14 military personnel in the region.

Chronicle NG reports that fourteen lifeless bodies of killed soldiers were recovered in the early hours of Saturday by soldiers of the joint task force under the supervision of the General Officer Commanding 6 Division Nigerian Army, Major General Jamal Abdussalam, at Okuama community, in the Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

Some of the recovered corpses were said to have been beheaded, while the stomachs and hearts of others were ripped off.

It was gathered that the slain military personnel responded to a distress call after the communal crisis between the Okuama and Okoloba communities, both in Delta State, before they were killed on Thursday, March 14.

Reacting to the news of the murder of the military personnel, Pooja, the FIFA-accredited photojournalist, wrote in a statement on X (formerly called Tweeter) on Sunday, March 16, 2023, “They should level that place in Delta. Youths killed soldiers. This is strange.”

His statement on the incident has since created an uproar in the Nigerian social media space, with many calling for the disaccreditation of the sports photojournalist by CAF and FIFA.

Reacting to Pooja’s statement, a social media influencer, Omotayo Williams, wrote, “It’s appalling to witness @PoojaMedia (Sulaiman Pooja Adebayo), a FIFA and CAF-accredited photojournalist, advocating for the murder of innocent children, women, and men.”

“Instead of seeking justice and calling for the investigation and arrest of the attackers in a tragic incident, he has incited violence against the most vulnerable after calling that the Nigerian Army should “level,” which means kill everyone in a community,” Williams added.

Williams also urged FIFA and CAF for “an immediate and complete dissociation with @PoojaMedia. Such inhumane behavior has no place in football or any community.”

Calling Pooja’s statement “a crime to humanity,” Donald Silver states “His call for genocide in a community is a crime to humanity. He, @PoojaMedia, needs to be investigated for his call for the military to level a community in Nigeria.”

In his reaction to the statement by Pooja, Frank Ojukwu states that “the truth about one’s personality can be hidden, but not for long.

“No matter how he pretended to be patriotic, his tribalism and hatred for the southern region of Nigeria have suddenly sprouted out unknown to him. No region is more patriotic or more important than another.”

Odogwu Eko called on FIFA to revoke the license issued to the sports photojournalist.

“Please, we, the poor Nigerian masses, are pleading that you take this matter very seriously by revoking any license issued to @PoojaMedia, who pretends to be a sports photojournalist.

“There has to be a serious sanction for inciting the mass murder of children,” Eko wrote.

An X user simply identified as BTR noted that the silence of the World Football Body over the issue would only indicate support for the genocide call.

“One of your accredited journalists, @PoojaMedia, is tweeting a genocidal message and instigating violence against innocent children.

“This is an unacceptable act, and silence in this demeanor would indicate support for his evil atrocities and beliefs,” BTR wrote.