Ijaw youths under the auspices of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, has described as “betrayal of trust”, the action of those accused of complicity in the alleged diversion of N600million out of the N15billion compensation paid to Odi Community in Kolokuma-Opokuma local government area of Bayelsa State as a result of the Odi massacre of 1999.
The IYC, in a statement issued yesterday in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa capital and signed by its spokesman, Comrade Eric Omare, said the alleged diversion and the violent clashes over the sharing formula in the community have betrayed all those who paid the ultimate price, those alive to fight for justice for Odi Community and the entire Ijaw Nation.
Omare said, “The N15billion compensation was paid as a result of the military invasion the community suffered in 1999, hence, the IYC is of the view that the money should be channelled mainly into the reconstruction of the community and the future educational development of indigent Odi indigenes. We condemn and oppose sharing of money to individual members of the community in all its ramifications”.
The IYC spokesman, however, suggested that the proposed Odi Reconstruction Committee and Trustees be made up of representatives of the different quarters that make up Odi Community and special interest groups such as Elders, Women and Youths.
He added that the Reconstruction Committee would be mandated to use substantial part of the money to rebuild the Odi Community and if possible relocate and build a new Odi considering the flood prone nature of the community.
“It is on record that Odi is usually one of the first communities to be flooded in the entire Bayelsa State. Where necessary, the Bayelsa State government should provide additional fund for the building of a new Odi Community to solve the problem of perennial flooding”, Omare said.
“While, the Odi Trustees would manage the remaining money to train some indigent Odi indigenes at the undergraduate and post graduate level in selected areas.There should be a Bayelsa state government monitoring committee to ensure judicious use of the fund with representatives of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC).”
“The IYC call on Ijaw Youths from Odi Community and Kolokuma Clan to maintain peace and be law abiding while the Bayelsa State government and Ijaw leaders are taking steps to resolve the crisis”, he added.
It would be recalled that displeased youths of the community had last week attacked the Deputy Traditional ruler of the Community, Chief Ebitimi Karuiru and other indigenes of the community over their alleged involvement in the discrepancies over the sharing of the N15 billion compensation paid by the Federal Government for the 1999 military invasion in the state.