Ijaw youths allege targeting of Niger Deltans in anti-graft war

Posted by News Express | 16 December 2015 | 2,708 times

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The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) on Tuesday said that the Federal Government’s clampdown on former president Goodluck Jonathan’s men from the Niger Delta region was a witch-hunt targeted at prominent Niger Delta people.

Mr. Udengs Eradiri, IYC President, made the allegation at a news conference in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State. He listed Raymond Dokpesi, Patrick Akpobolokemi and Government Ekpemukpolo a.k.a Tompolo, among others, as victims of the alleged witch-hunt.

The youth leader noted that the sharp drop in the 2016 budget estimate for the Amnesty programme from N50 billion to N20 billion was part of the plot against the Niger Delta people.

He said that the reduction also affected the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

According to Eradiri, the reduction in budget estimates for the intervention agencies for the Niger Delta region portends harsh economic woes for the region.

He said that slashing budget estimates from the region where 90 percent of the estimated N6 trillion for 2016 was unfair.

Eradiri said that non-payment of stipends to ex-militants had increased the crime rate in the region.

“The Amnesty programme boosted oil production from 60,000 barrels per day to over 2 million barrels as at today. We feel that the fund being spent to sustain the Amnesty programme is worthwhile and justified. The slashing of the Amnesty funds is an indication that the Amnesty programme cannot be sustained and this can trigger crisis in the region and endanger the economic life wire of the nation,” Eradiri said.

He called on the Federal Government to reverse the reduction of the estimates to avoid jeopardising the expected sources of revenue to meet the expectations of Nigerians and fulfill its campaign promises.

Eradri further urged the Federal Government to make its current anti-corruption policy holistic rather than target prominent Niger Delta people in the administration of former president Jonathan.

“We are fully in support of the anti-corruption policy but we insist that it should not be selective, anyone who held public office should give account of his stewardship,” he said.

On the Bayelsa governorship polls, the IYC President said that the group remained non-partisan. He commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) for cancelling the results of the elections in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area.

Eradri urged INEC to ensure that the rescheduled election in the area was peaceful.

•Photo shows EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu.

Source: News Express

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