Ijaw youths to Buhari: Don’t treat Niger Delta like a conquered and enemy territory

Posted by News Express | 12 May 2016 | 2,998 times

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The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) on Wednesday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to constructively engage the people of the Niger Delta region and not treat the region like a conquered and enemy territory.

The IYC through its Spokesman, Eric Omare in a statement blamed the renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta region on the combative and dictatorial approach of the Buhari administration towards issues affecting the Niger Delta region.

Omare said: “Since assumption of office, instead of improving upon developmental efforts, the IYC has observed a deliberate policy of the Buhari administration to reverse projects and programmes that were put in place to develop and empower the region such as the cancellation of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, massive reduction in the budget of the Presidential Amnesty programme and disengagement of beneficiaries without training and empowerment/ employment, reduction in the budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission and the near zero allocation to the Niger Delta Ministry despite increment in the national budget from four trillion to six trillion.

“All these decisions were taken without any sort of engagement with stakeholders. Up till this moment the Federal Government has not deemed it fit to engage the people and offer any reason why the Maritime University, Okerenkoko was cancelled and Amnesty budget reduced by almost eighty percent.

“It must also be noted that the IYC has consistently advocated an economic solution to the issue of illegal bunkering in the region. It is not enough for the illegal refineries to be destroyed and those involved arrested but there should be a creative mechanism to legalise the activities of these people so as to make them useful to society.

“It is a fact that the reason for the involvement of local people in illegal refinery activities is because of the lack of participation of the people in the resources that are found in their land. It is simply because of the poverty in the midst of plenty.”

IYC said it made several efforts to draw the attention of President Buhari to the ripple effects of his actions but that they were all ignored.

The group said: “While we do not support destruction of oil facilities, we must state clearly that the renewed hostilities and attacks on oil facilities are the resultant effects of the combative and dictatorial approach of the Buhari administration to issues of affecting the region.

“We had expected President Buhari to adopt a more democratic approach rather than threatening to crush imaginary militants and oil bunkers at every opportunity. This would not solve the problem.

“The IYC therefore call on President Buhari to adopt a democratic approach by engaging the people of the region on issues affecting the region rather than treating the region like a conquered and enemy territory," the IYC said.

•Photo shows President Buhari.

Source: News Express

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