The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has called on the Federal Government to take urgent steps to address the brewing agitations in the Niger Delta over the delay in inauguration of the board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The President of INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, in a statement in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said the timely intervention of President Muhammadu Buhari would douse the growing tension in the region.
Okaba said the continued existence of the grossly illegal vehicle of Interim Administration at the NDDC and the monumental deception of the Presidency of the Niger Delta region were evil against the ijaw nation and Niger Delta region.
According to the INC President, “the rape, emasculation and waste of the commonwealth of the region by those charged with its efficient use, the abuse of propriety and self-enrichment of a select few are of great concern to the people.
Okaba said the “continued delay of the inauguration of a substantive board for the NDDC is an inexplicable aberration that defies logical reasoning and is infuriating the region.”
He said the general feeling was that the region has been auctioned off to one man to do with it as he pleases.
According to him, “we feel inclined to let you know, so that you might take prompt action. If you do not take prompt action and the indigenous cross-cultural and multi-ethnic feelings of discontentment assume critical mass and become kinetic, we can do nothing to hold things back.”
Professor Okaba noted with dismay that “we have verified reports that peaceful Ijaw protesters from the host community of the NDDC, were brutalised, beaten and injured, while the women were molested and abused by thugs.”
While saying the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs no longer enjoys the support and goodwill of the people of the Niger Delta, Okaba stated that the “continued imposition on the area is unfortunate and counter-productive for both Federal Government and the region.”
He said the INC should not be blamed for any “breach of security if the boiling anger in the Niger Delta results in the breakdown of law and order as the people are fed up with the lackluster approach of the President to the outlined issues.”
The IYC President expressed regret about he he called “the deliberate non-inclusion of any roads in Ijaw territories in the N621.237bn Federal Government Road Infrastructure Development and Refurbishment Investment Tax Credit Scheme to be carried out by the NNPC. It is even more vexatious that the entire South-South region that sustains the country has the least of kilometres (81.9km) to be covered. This marginalisation in national infrastructure development is totally unacceptable.”
Okaba said the people of the region had resolved not to condone any further use of thugs to beat up young men and molest women in the region, threatening that the people will not tolerate “any attempt to procure Ijaws to wage war against fellow Ijaws and to stir up unrest and mayhem within the region.”
Noting that the full gamut of multiethnic nationalities in Niger Delta region regard us as “the Omega Line of Appeal. And this is what we are doing through this medium,” he said: the “silence of our friends who would rather watch while our future and that of our unborn children is being mismanaged by a handful of empowered people.” me