Ijaw youths under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council, IYC alleged that some leaders of ethnic nationalities and politicians in the Niger Delta have introduced a new dimension of conspiracy against the Ijaw nation following the road map to peace initiated by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu.
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The IYC claimed that some ethnic leaders had even threatened to destroy oil facilities in their areas because of the steps taken by the federal government to address the renewed militancy in the region.
The IYC, in a statement issued in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital by its spokesman, Eric Omare, said it had observed that some politicians, whose desire it said has always been to reap from the ongoing breach of oil facilities, are bent on introducing a dangerous ethnic dimension to the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta.
“This class of politicians has unpretentiously displayed anti-Ijaw sentiments and conspiracy to the extent that the fragile path to an acceptable road map enunciated by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu appears threatened. This is dangerous for inter-ethnic peace and harmony”, the IYC said.
It pointed out that “The ongoing process whereby some officials of the federal government have painstakingly taken bold steps, like that by Kachikwu, through a major landmark visit, has become another source of discomfort for ethnic chauvinists and crisis entrepreneurs who see the minister’s visit to Gbaramatu as a misnomer. This is unacceptable.”
“We recall that in the days of the pre-amnesty arrangement, Ijaw youths were called criminals even as other ethnic groups distanced themselves from the programme on the ground that they had no need to embrace any amnesty offer.
“Same characters later cried foul that the programme was cornered by the Ijaws. Same way, at the inception of the renewed violence orchestrated by the Avengers, leaders of other ethnic nationalities pointed accusing fingers at our youths, the Ijaws, as masterminds”.
Raising some posers for these group of ethnic chauvinists and crisis entrepreneurs, Mr. Omare asked that at what point does discussing with Ijaw people become an issue, adding that “Does it mean that while the Ijaws can be branded as criminals for whatever reason, they deserve not to be heard by government?”
According to the IYC spokesman, “This ugly development, particularly orchestrated by some high ranking officers of the federal government and party chieftains can only impede progress and those belonging to this category should be called to order by President Buhari”.
“The Ijaw ethnic nationality has always condemned violence as a response to the deliberate under development of her communities. This is in spite of the fact that the Ijaws bear the brunt of this unbridled suffocation, deprivation and brazen exploitation.
“We bear the pain more, take the gauntlet and lead the vanguard against oppression and in the process lose more to reactionary forces whose desire has always been to quell the voice of reason”, he said.