Ijaw youths threaten to storm National Assembly

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The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, has threatened to storm the National Assembly to support the senators from the region for the rejection of a Bill to amend the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act, sponsored by Senator Olamilekan Adeola (APC, Lagos West).

The group called out prominent ex-militant leaders like High Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo; Dr. Ebikabowei Ben, aka Boyloaf and the Amanyanabo of Okochiri Kingdom, King Ateke Tom, not to be silent over the shameful treatment being meted out to the region by those they referred to as Abuja-based politicians.

IYC national spokesman Ebilade Ekerefe, in a statement yesterday, praised Deputy Senate President Ovie Omo-Agege (APC, Delta Central) and other members of the National Assembly for their position on the bill for an Act to amend the NDDC Act.

He noted that the youth backed them on their vehement rejection, which they described as bold and commendable.

Ekerefe said: “Their total rejection showed that the National Assembly members from the region have further shown that there are still men of honour from the Niger Delta, unlike others who have continued to treat their region with disdain despite the transient positions they are holding at the moment.

“Secondly, the proposed Bill for the inclusion of these strange bed fellows in the NDDC confirms our repeated positions that the Niger Delta has become a toy to be played with by politicians in Abuja and the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.”

He said the continued silence of Niger Delta leaders, including ex-militant warlords, was no longer golden in the face of issues of neglect, lack of development and other contentious issues such as the non-constitution of the NDDC board, the mass sack of Niger Delta indigenes at the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the exclusion of major roads in the region from the planned NNPC road construction.

Ekerefe said: “Your silence has made ‘interlopers’ to be insulting us and calling for the merger of what may later remain of the NDDC after it is merged with the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs and taken to Abuja for the final burial. Niger Delta will now become empty and be begging for carcass. The IYC call on our structures in Northern Nigeria to occupy the National Assembly, to resist this obnoxious bill any time it is brought back to the floor of the Senate for further debate.

“The NDDC is a regional development commission. It must be made clear to the sponsor of the Bill that there is a difference between the NDDC and the oil and mineral producing commission. Even at that, is it not wise for the sponsor of the Bill to call for a Southwest Development Commission to cater for the purported degradation noticed in the ‘baby’ oil producing states from discovery of crude oil in Alkaleri Local Government, Bauchi State; Badagry, Lagos State and Ipokia, Ogun State.”

“The IYC will also put the security agencies on notice over their planned solidarity march to the National Assembly.

“We want to also put on notice the Nigerian security apparatus and the political leaders that the peace existing on paper to the current administration, may have become compromised due to the continued insult on the leaders and people from the region.

“But we must let these politicians and their anti-Niger Delta elements know that the ‘Toy’ is a dangerous one that will explode in their hands if they don’t stop the deliberate provocation of its people. The Nigerian nation must remember that the late President Umaru Yar’Adua and many others pleaded for peace from the people of the region before the wealth they were enjoying became available for them to plunder.

“With the speed with which the Bill quickly scaled the second reading on the floor of the National Assembly and the reference to the bill to Peter Nwaoboshi (APC, Delta North) for further legislative action and report back at plenary in four weeks, the people of the Niger Delta have had it with the Nigerian nation.

“The NDDC was created in 2000 to address the age-long environmental degradation caused by oil exploration in the region. This became necessary after years of agitation, which led to deaths in the struggle and destruction of homes in the region. These deaths and destruction have not even been ameliorated as we speak.

“The IYC will call on our structures in Northern Nigeria to occupy the National Assembly to resist this obnoxious bill anytime it is brought back to the floor of the Senate for further debate.”

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