Ijaw leaders accuse Buhari of injustice says Dialogue without N’Delta leaders won’t work - EazyFeeds

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Sunday 31 July 2016

Ijaw leaders accuse Buhari of injustice says Dialogue without N’Delta leaders won’t work

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.

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.

 “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.”

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