Insecurity: IYC pushes for regional security outfit in Niger Delta, relocation of IOCs
Asks lawmakers to hasten PIB
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has vowed to pursue the establishment of a regional security outfit in the New Year to police the Niger Delta region, especially the Southsouth geopolitical zone.
In his New Year address in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Friday, the IYC President, Peter Timothy Igbifa, said like the Amotekun in the West, it had become expedient for the Southsouth to float its security outfit.
Igbifa listed the security challenges in the zone especially the Ijaw-speaking communities saying the youths would mount pressure on the governors to undertake all executive and legislative processes required to evolve the outfit.
He said: “We are not alien to the reports of infiltrations of the Fulani herdsmen and other groups in our bushes and environment. The recurrent discovery of guns and live ammunitions on the highways is a clear indication that we must be prepared at all times.
“The news of our women being raped and killed in bushes, farmers intimidated and maimed on a regular basis and travelers robbed and killed is becoming unbearable. It is no longer news that most of our city’s vigilante are northeners holding machetes and safeguarding our own territories. This seems ridiculous as it reveals our highhandedness in trivializing possible attack on us all.
“We, therefore, call on all structures of the council, zonal chapters and clans to set up mechanisms to check this unfortunate security threat in our region. I and my team are seriously considering the establishment of our own regional security outfit in line with the proposal made by the governors of our region. We shall push for this outfit and impress it upon the governors to invoke required legislative process to give it a legal backing”.
Igbifa said the IYC under his leadership would push for the relocation of the headquarters of oil multinationals to the Niger Delta region in obedience to Presidential directives; the passage of the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) into law; practice of true federalism, stoppage of military invasion in Ijaw comunities and issuance of indigenous licenses for modula refineries.
He said the IYC would hold all political holders from the region accountable and compel them to defend the common course of the Ijaw people.
“As 8th President of IYC, I urge all political office holders both at the national, regional, state and local levels to rise up and defend the cause of the Ijawland and challenge every law that has kept us as tenants even in our own homes.
“We want them to challenge the Land Use Act; the waterways laws; environmental acts, the ecological problems among others. We the IYC will collaborate to defend any of of our political office holders willing to tread on the path of Ijaw”, he said.
Igbifa, however, decried the disunity among different stakeholders in Ijawland lamenting that if the division remained unabated, the Ijaw people would not be able to realise their common aspirations.
He called on all stakeholders to unite and speak in one voice in the New Year insisted that a house divided against itself will not stand.
He said: “It is high time we cut the chase and focus on our collective struggle of justice and clamour for resource control; a struggle that will be beneficial to everyone of us and the entire Niger Delta region.
“As the mainstay of Nigeria’s economy, we must break free from political divide and in unity face squarely our collective challenge of marginalization, constant degradation of our environment, prevalent oppressions; blackmailing and militarization of our region.
“I still hear the echoes of the drums of our forefathers agitating for total freedom and resource control; rather than dancing to the tune we allowed our selfish desires and different political affiliation deviate us from the struggles of our past leaders such as Major Isaac Boro and others.
“To our political class, we urge you to awake from your slumber, you are not liked by your counterparts. They are only interested in what they can gain from our lands.
“They have succeeded in truncating the bond of unity enjoyed by us. Over the years, there has been so much fighting among us, disloyalty to the Ijaw cause and backstabbing in the Niger Delta particularly in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and the Niger Delta Ministry.
“It is high time we stopped the internal warfare. It is time to work in unity, speak in one voice and focus on the common course that makes us the envy of others. Each time we fight ourselves, we lose our collective identity and make caricature of ourselves before other ethnic nationalities.
“Besides, we cannot achieve our collective aspirations without building bridges of understanding and cooperation with other ethnic nationalities within the Niger Delta region and the country at large.
“We should not let others within the region see us as selfish people, whose interest is to grab everything without fair consideration to other ethnic nationalities. We are stronger when we work as a team”.
While congratulating founding fathers of IYC, fallen heroes and the council’s past President, Igbifa said his leadership would train 200 youths on skill acquisitions in the New Year.
He said though his administration was about five months old, it had achieved remarkable feats and called on zonal and chapter leaders to work together for a better Ijawland.
He said: “On the issues of climate change, we shall begin to take deliberate legal action against local and multinationals operating in our region for their reckless methods of oil exploration and continuous gas flaring.
These activities have caused us severe health and environmental damages that will take centuries to heal from.
Our activities for this new year shall cut across all sectors in building and developing the youths to become independent rather than becoming political stooges during elections.
We will engage our youths with many programmes aimed at promoting hardwork and excellence.
We shall work with every youth body and association that shares same vision with the council because it is through synergy that we can change the narrative of our environment.
Every new year brings new aspirations and dreams and the opportunity for new achievements. The same is true for IYC, and as we begin our new year, I wish to offer heartfelt congratulations to all our Past Presidents, our fallen Heroes and the entire Council members for providing the council with amazing inspirational leadership”.