By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”Ijaw National Congress has said that the post-amnesty programme of the Federal Government must be about infrastructure development and economic stimulation of the Niger Delta.
The group said in a statement issued by its President, Dr. Atuboyedia Obianime, that there was also need for a master plan, in the short term, to address the environmental problems in the region.
The INC said:Â â€œIn the short term, we need a master plan driven by an environmental philosophy, in the medium it should be employable skills acquisitions, employment, wealth creation and the stimulation of the local economy.
â€œIn the long term, we need to sit down and discuss with our oppressors on the original issues of political space, the need to give us a more vocal voice in the comity of ethnic nationalities of this great country.
â€œWe have paid our dues in this country and we deserve attention. The way forward, therefore, is for the Nigerian state to review its structure, expand our scope of representation by creating more states, i.e, Torube State in the West and Oil Rivers in the East.
â€œIt also means that Bayelsa State , the goose that lays the golden eggs, must have extra local government areas, at least, matching the local national average of twenty,â€ he said.
Dr. Obianime, who spoke at the 1st Annual Memorial Lecture in honour of the late President Ijaw National Congress, Chief Chris Gomorai, insisted that only a post-amnesty programme, aimed at the infrastructure, economic and social development of the region and driven by the people of the area, would assuage the feelings of the people and reduce the carnage in the creeks.
He canvassed for a post-amnesty era that must be philosophical and issues driven, adding that the Ijaws must be pro-active and strong and vibrant, as the coming days were critical as the grounds for negotiations and compromises receded.
The well attended ceremony, which included the widow of late Chief Chris Gomorai, Mrs. Victoria Gomorai, also saw the Chairman of the occasion, Barrister Eugene Okolocha, describing the late INC leader as â€˜a man of strong character ever produced by Ijaw nation.