Ijaw Leaders Accused Buhari of Injustice to the Ijaw Nation

Niger Delta         

Ijaw leaders yesterday held a consultative meeting with elder
statesman, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark and Governor Seriake Henry Dickson
of Bayelsa State over the renewed militancy in the Niger Delta,
accusing President Muhammadu Buhari’s government of being unfair to the
Ijaw people.

    “NNPC which is the major corporation operating oil exploitation was recently constituted but of the nine members not a single person is from Ijaw ethnic nationality where must oil explorations are done.”

The parley held at the residence of Chief Clark in Warri, Delta State,
where the Ijaw leaders however, called on the militants to accept the
proposed federal government dialogue offer and halt further attacks on
oil facilities in the region.
Clark, who convened the meeting, said that any federal government
dialogue in which leaders of the region were not consulted will not
work.
He therefore called on the government to go through leaders of the region if it was sincere to dialogue with aggrieved youths.
The meeting which was also attended by Delta State deputy governor,
Deacon Kingsley Otuaro and some federal lawmakers, urged the federal
government to withdraw troops from Gbaramatu Kingdom and free 10
students allegedly arrested by the military during a recent invasion of
Oporoza community.
A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting read: “The Elders and
Leaders of thoughts of the Ijaw nation call for the immediate
restructuring of the Nigerian nation along the lines of peaceful
federalism, and noticed that thus is the panacea for the sustainable
development of Nigeria.
“As a demonstration of sincerity of commitment to dialogue, FG should
immediately withdraw the military from all occupied Ijaw communities,
particularly Gbaramatu kingdom. The meeting also calls on the FG to
immediately release the 10 innocent students of Gbaramatu kingdom.”
It added that “the meeting passed a vote of confidence on the Chief
Boma Obuoforibo led leadership of the Ijaw National Congress. We condemn
the move to scrap the Nigerian Maritime University approved by the
preceding FG with temporary site at Kurutie and call for the immediate
takeoff of the university.
“The prevailing trend of executive/legislature faceoff that is
effecting negatively on governance and call on both arms to work in
harmony in the interest of the nation.”
The communiqué which was read by former Acting Managing Director of
Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Power Ziakede Aginighan,
accused the federal government through its policies of plot to sideline
Ijaw Nation, saying such antics would not work.
 “The none inclusive policies of the present administration which has
led to the alienation of some components of the federation particularly
the Ijaw nation from the main stream of national development and call on
Mr. President to redress this ugly state of affairs.
“The meeting noted the impact of various activities of militant groups
of the Niger Delta on the national economy and call on all of the to
cease further attacks on crude oil and gas facilities and embrace the
offer of dialogue offered by the federal government”, it stated.
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa state, who spoke briefly before
leaving the venue, commended the Ijaw leaders for the meeting saying
that there was no need for war in the region.
“I have said there is no need for more wars in the Niger Delta,
certainly not in Ijaw land as the matter is not for war-war but
 jaw-jaw. I am delighted that our leaders are thinking in that same
direction. 
“This meeting is like a prelude to a larger, more comprehensive Ijaw
meeting of all our leaders that the government of Bayelsa state would
host in no distant time.
“Today, I am here to associate myself fully with this initiative that
our leaders, fathers and royal majesties of the Ijaw nation are gathered
for to show to Nigeria and the world that we indeed have leaders.
People who can reason, organise our people and lead them on burning
issues of the moment”, Governor Dickson stated.
Meanwhile, Ijaw National Leader, Chief Clark, had in his opening remark
called for the restructuring of the country saying the Nigeria would
not move forward with its current structure until the needful is done.
The former Information Minister, who lamented current situation in the
region, urged the militants and the federal government to toll the path
of dialogue.
 
According to him, “this is not the first time this kind of crisis is
happening. In 2008 and 2009 similar incident happened and Gbaramatu was
affected. We elders and leaders intervened and we got Amnesty. 

   “Today we hear that federal government is planning, already talking or
negotiating with militants and nobody has consulted us. That will not
work. These children are our children and we cannot fold our hands when
they are being attacked and pretend not to notice. We must be involved
in what government wants to do.”

The elder statesman while lamenting the present situation in the Niger
Delta region, stressed that dialogue was the only possible option out of
the crisis.
He stated that while it commendable that the federal government has
agreed to dialogue with the militant groups to halt attacks on oil and
gas facilities it was however not clear whom the government presently
discussing with.
According to him, no Ijaw leader has been consulted by the federal
government on the proposed dialogue towards halting ongoing attacks on
oil facilities in the region.
He added that “this country deserves restructuring. Unless this country
is restructured, we (Ijaw) will continue to be treated as second class
citizens. We are not second class citizens. We must fight for our rights
but not by destruction of pipelines.
“We (Ijaw) are not presently in the scheme of things in this country.
The Ijaw people must be accorded and included this government. We are
part of this country. We believe in the unity of this country.

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