Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), the umbrella body of Ijaw youths worldwide has declared readiness to confront the Federal Government with their demands for equity, justice and resource control.
Leaders of the umbrella body while converging on Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital over the weekend expressed vexatious over the issues of true federalism, the militarisation of Niger Delta communities, gas flaring, water resource bill and restructuring.
The IYC zonal leaders, elders, past presidents and deputy presidents of the council including Dr. Chris Ekiyor, the Special Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor on Ijaw National Affairs, Onifie Jon Jon, among others, were present at the well-attened meeting chaired by the President of the IYC, Comrade Peter Igbifa.
They resolved that a final position on the issues raised at the consultative meeting would be unveiled at the end of the ongoing consultations with various ethnic groups and state governors across the Niger Delta.
Igbifa, at the end of the consultative meeting told journalists that though the council was undergoing consultations with Ijaw stakeholders, the IYC was ready to take their destinies in their hands and confront the Federal Government over contentious issues of true federalism, restructuring and the militarisation of the Ijaw communities.
Igbifa said, ”Ijaw as the 4th largest ethnic nationality in the country, we have a wide range of consultations to do. For sure, we have issued statements and taken a position that our people should take their destiny in their own hands.
“We have said the issue of resources control is key to us. God, not being mad, has gone to Zanfara State to give them gold and help them to tap their resources and sell. So, we are also preparing ourselves to take our oil in our own hands and sell our oil to make our society what it ought to be.
“And the consultation is preparing our house and putting ourselves ready for what is ahead of us. We have said several times that no life will be lost in the course of taking our destiny in our own hands. In our last meeting, I said the military should not prepare for war because with these consultations,we want to put an end to the militarisation of ijaw communities.
“The military excesses have become unbearable and under the guise of chasing oil criminals, they go around Ijaw communities and burn down homes. They run around freely in Ijaw communities and burn down houses. They have taken away the people’s rights and destroyed the ecosystems. Then they come again and chase the people.
“When you say there are criminals in Ijaw communities, you can go there and let us see the criminals. We say there should be no more burning down of Ijaw communities. You saw what the #EndSARS protesters pushed for, it was an end to brutality. So, we have suffered more than any other ethnic groups when it comes to the brute force of the military on communities.”
Also speaking, the spokesman for the IYC, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, noted that the position of Ijaw youths on various contentious issues of resource control, restructuring and many others would be a watershed for the country in the next few weeks.
He stated, “Nigeria at the moment is at the crossroads and Ijaw youths are ready to make their demands from the Federal Government. The Ijaw youths are more ready and united to confront the challenges in the next few weeks.”