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Ijaw Youths challenge Buhari on resource control, allege persecution of Niger Delta people

By News Express on 26/10/2015

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The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has called on the Federal Government to have an economic plan as an alternative for the people of the Niger Delta region who are involve in the oil bunkering activities and illegal refinery before stopping them from accessing their only means of livelihood in the creeks.

President of the IYC, Comrade Udengs Eradiri, who stated this in a chat with newsmen in Yenagoa, said that the government is stopping them from their means of livelihood but that the people must also be involved in the exploitation of their resources.

He stressed that when they are denied access to their own resources it would give rise to another form of militancy in the region.

Eradiri also described as sad the spate of oil theft in the Niger Delta, saying it is a crime against humanity because the livelihood of the people is bastardised while the people are also killed and are forced into a quest for survival.

His words: “I have said in the past that much as we support the war against oil theft, it must come with an economic plan as an alternative so that as you are going in to stop them from their way of life, provide an alternative.

“Engage, employ the youths who engage in illegal refining of crude in the creeks. But when you do otherwise, there will be effects, that’s why you are seeing the increase in crime rate, robbery is going up, kidnapping is on the increase, they are kidnapping even ice fish sellers now.

“It is because when you destroy their means of livelihood and you don’t create any alternative is a deliberate ploy to destabilise the Niger Delta so that businesses would not come here.

“They say oil theft is economic sabotage, what of the illegal mining that are going on in the North, is that not worst economic sabotage, at a point there was lead poisoning as a result of illegal mining.

“The monies that they realise from illegal mining is huge, why do we not have the JTF policing illegal miners, knowing full well that the monies realise from gold illegally mined is far much more than monies realised from stolen oil.

“Retired Generals have mines of their own in the North; the statistics are there. Why are we not talking about those minerals in the North that are illegally mined to the pockets of individuals? Why is it that only Niger Delta oil that is in the pages of newspapers?”

The IYC President called for proper investigation on how oil blocks were shared, adding that if President Muhammadu Buhari is sincere with his anti-corruption drive he should also revisit and investigate the owners of Nigeria’s oil blocks.

He said: “We must also investigate how those oil blocks were shared. Did it follow due process? The UK government should stay away from Diezani; this was how they muscled up and now Alamieyeseigha is dead.

“Now they have started with Diezani. They should leave Ijaw people alone. Are there not other governors that have stolen? Go to UK; almost all the streets are owned by northerners who stole Nigeria’s money.

“So why are they just on Goodluck Jonathan’s men, just to demonise Goodluck? Goodluck should have won Nobel Prize for Peace; Goodluck deserves a Nobel Peace Prize; Goodluck deserves respect from Nigerians. As far as we are concerned, the anti-corruption fight is a fight against the Ijaw people.”

Eradiri also expressed worry that the Single Treasury Account system is already having a negative toll on the economy of the country, adding that the Amnesty and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) are especially suffering the effects and projects are suffering in the region.

He urged President Buhari to exempt the NDDC and the Amnesty Office in order for these institutions to freely carry out their responsibilities of training young people from this region as at when due and also developing the Niger Delta.

•Photo shows Comrade Udengs Eradiri.


Source News Express

Posted 26/10/2015 03:26:05 AM


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