NDDC: IYC cancels all protests, opts for stakeholders’ meeting
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has suspended all proposed protests against the appointment of Effiong Akwa as the sole Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The council also scheduled a stakeholders’ meeting to discuss issues affecting the Niger Delta region including current management structure of NDDC.
The President of IYC, Peter Timothy Igbifa, in a statement said the proposed meeting would deliberate on issues surrounding the NDDC, take a common decision and formulate an action plan.
Igbifa said the gathering would also discuss issues surrounding the proposed formation of a regional security outfit to tackle emerging threats to peace in the Niger Delta region especially in Ijaw communities.
The IYC leader also said action plans would be formulated at the meeting to ensure immediate relocation of oil multinationals’ headquarters to the Niger Delta region in obedience to Presidential directives.
Igbifa, who said the meeting would hold before the end of January added that all the zonal leaders, chapter heads, the Ogbos, clan heads and other leaders of the Ijaw ethnic nationalities across the country were expected to attend the meeting.
He appealed to all stakeholders in the region to maintain the peace and allow the forthcoming meeting take far-reaching decisions and formulate action plans to resolve some issues affecting the Niger Delta.
Igbifa, therefore, urged all aggrieved Ijaw youths and other stakeholders to sheathe their swords and suspend all protest planned in the name of the IYC and allow the proposed meeting determine a common position, strategies and way forward.
He said the IYC would not allow anybody to block any road in the Niger Delta including the East-West road using the name of the council to protest the development in the NDDC unless stakeholders agree in the proposed meeting that such strategy is the only way forward.
Igbifa said: “The IYC is an organised pressure group. At all times we must sit down and articulate our positions on issues and agree on action plans. Any action not sanctioned by our collective decision cannot stand and does not originate from the IYC.
“The IYC under my leadership has not articulated our common position on the current development in NDDC management. We are going to take that decision in an all-inclusive stakeholders’ meeting of the council scheduled before the end of this month.
“We call on all Ijaw youths to desist from actions and protest capable of stoking tensions and undermining economic activities in the region. We also call on our respected youths not to lend themselves as a tool of destabilisation and disunity at a time when we should rather set Agenda for the year 2021.
“We assure you that all issues including that of the NDDC, NCDMB, PIB, IOCs and their impacts on our proposed Human Capacity Development Plan 2021, etc will be resolved in our proposed meeting and a common position will be taken for the benefit of the Ijaw nation”.
Consequent upon this, we shall join an all-inclusive stakeholders meeting with Youth Leaders of other ethnic nationalities for enhanced unity position/a set Agenda for 2021 on matters affecting the entire region.
Igbifa also condemned in strong terms the ongoing violence and gun battle in Peremabiri, the community of an ex-militant leader, Paul Eris, alias Ogunboss, in Southern Ijaw, Bayelsa State.
He said: “The situation in Peremabiri calls for urgent interventions by all stakeholders.We are in touch with the security formations and hopes returns to Peremabiri. Residents of that community have abandoned their homes out of fear and fled to bushes and other neighbouring communities.
“The IYC is ready to collaborate with security agencies and stakeholders of the community to bring an end to this repeated urglies in that Community. We are also warning our youths to desist from criminality and violence”.