The attention of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), worldwide has been drawn to a publication in several national newspapers of Sunday, the 19th of June, 2016 with the above caption. In the said report, some leaders of ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta region threatened to destroy oil facilities in their areas because of steps being taken by the federal government to address the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta region. Considering the likely security implications of the statements, the IYC wishes to respond as follows:
- A new dimension of conspiracy has been noticed lately, particularly in the wake of the renewed violence in the Niger Delta region. It has been observed that some politicians whose desire has always been to reap from the ongoing breach of oil facilities are bent on introducing a dangerous ethnic dimension to this situation. These class of politicians have unpretentiously displayed anti-Ijaw sentiments and conspiracy to the extent that the fragile path to an acceptable roadmap enunciated by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu appears threatened. This is dangerous for inter-ethnic peace and harmony.
- The ongoing process whereby some officials of the federal government have painstakingly taken bold steps, like that by Kachikwu, through a major landmark visit, has become another source of discomfort for ethnic chauvinists and crisis entrepreneurs who see the minister’s visit to Gbaramatu as a misnomer. This is unacceptable.
- We recall that in the days of the pre-amnesty arrangement, Ijaw youths were called criminals even as other ethnic groups distanced themselves from the programme on the ground that they had no need to embrace any amnesty offer. Same characters later cried foul that the programme was cornered by the Ijaws. Same way, at the inception of the renewed violence orchestrated by the Avengers, leaders of other ethnic nationalities pointed accusing fingers at our youths, the Ijaws, as masterminds. We ask, at what point does discussing with Ijaw people become an issue? Does it mean that while the Ijaws can be branded as criminals for whatever reason, they deserve not to be heard by government?
- This ugly development, particularly orchestrated by some high ranking officers of the federal government and party chieftains can only impede progress and those belonging to this category should be called to order by President Buhari. The Ijaw ethnic nationality has always condemned violence as a response to the deliberate under development of her communities. This is in spite of the fact that the Ijaws bear the brunt of this unbridled suffocation, deprivation and brazen exploitation. We bear the pain more, take the gauntlet and lead the vanguard against oppression and in the process lose more to reactionary forces whose desire has always been to quell the voice of reason.
- The Ijaw fight for justice, equity, fairness and development has always been for the deprived people of the region and not just the Ijaw ethnic nationality even though we have lost more in terms of human and material resources in the process. This is because as people of the Niger Delta, we have shared challenges and a collective destiny. We therefore call on other ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to cause ethnic division in the region.
Signed for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide: