ByÂ Samuel Oyadongha
Yenagoaâ€”The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide has called on the Federal Government to match its promise with action by commencing the process of infrastructural development in the troubled Niger Delta.
Secretary General of the IYC Worldwide, Comrade Udens Eradiri, in an interview in Yenagoa, said with the acceptance of the amnesty by Tompolo and other Niger Delta militants, the onus was now on the Federal Government to commit fund for the massive infrastructural development of the region.
The IYC scribe said with the return of peace to the region, the people were prepared to provide security for the bulldozers that would be deployed to commence the physical development of the area.
Eradiri noted that what the people needed to see now were bulldozers that would open up the Niger DeltaÂ in line with President Umaru Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s promise of turning around the fortunes of the region and not military armored tanks that will further intimidate the already traumatized people.
â€œWe thanked God that our brother Tompolo and others have turned in their arms to embrace the amnesty.
â€œThe challenge is now for the Federal Government to develop the Niger Delta following the surrendering of arms by the militants who were initially viewed as security risk,â€ he said, while assuring the Federal Government of the IYCâ€™s commitment to the peace process.
According to him, â€œwe are tired of empty promises. Mr. President should ensure that the development of the Niger Delta is given priority attention in the scheme of things.â€
Eradiri also expressed worries over the deplorable state of the East-West road, wondering why the Federal Government, which claimed to be committed to bringing the region out of the woods, will encumber the Niger Delta Ministry with the responsibility of rehabilitating the route in spite of its strategic importance to the nationâ€™s oil and gas industry.
The East-West road like other federal roads he noted, should be handled by the Federal Ministry of Works and not the Niger Delta Ministry which is being starved of funds.
â€œWhat can the Niger Delta Ministry do when it is not properly funded in this situation? The East-West road is not a Niger Delta affair. It is a road that is of strategic importance to the nationâ€™s oil industry, so why should its rehabilitation be ceded to the Niger Delta Ministry?
â€œWhat we want in the Niger Delta is direct federal government intervention in the development of the region and not the present manipulation by the government which created a commission and a ministry only to starve both of funds. Government should not play politics with the development of the Niger Delta,â€ he cautioned.
On the dredging of the River Niger, the IYC scribe expressed concern that most of the communities along the lower Niger River, which were already being threatened by erosion, may suffer adverse environmental consequences.
He called on the federal government to put in place measures to save the communities from extinction.