By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
Ijaw youths have called on President Muhammadu Buhari to speak up on the proposed scrapping of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, insisting that his continued silence on the fate of the institution is causing tension in the region.
President of the Ijaw Youth Council, (IYC) worldwide, Udengs Eradiri, who spoke in Yenagoa, said the council was disturbed by the proposed cancellation of the university by the Minster of Transportation and former Governor of Rivers State, Chief Rotimi Amaechi and the continued silence of President Buhari.
Eradiri said the university will not only accelerate development of the area but also help address the age-long marginalisation of the Niger Delta region.
He declared that the IYC would not relent in its effort to ensure that the institution becomes a reality.
“Mr. President cannot afford to remain silent on the fate of the maritime university. He should speak up and help douse the rising attention in the Niger Delta,” he said noting that the institution would help develop manpower in the maritime sector and also assist the Federal Government drive to diversify the country’s economy.
“Our resolve on that university is unshakable, we will never change our position until the government reverse its decision.
“The governing council was about announcing the admission of students before the sad turn of event. We expect government to come out with a categorical statement on that university and reinstate the governing council that was put in place. By that we will realize that government is actually serious and not paying lip service to the issue of education and development of our region.
“How can anybody in this modern time cancel an educational facility without any justification. We are desirous of having the institution come to fruition and it is on this note that we are going ahead with our one million man march to Kurutie, the university town to let the world see what is on ground there.
“A lot of the information about that place is negative and false. So whatever we are doing, is to bring the attention of the world to the place for people to see the true situation on ground.”
The Ijaw youths body also condemned the Department of State Services (DSS) invasion of the Abuja residence of King Amalate Turner, a close associate of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Turner, who is the King of Opume Kingdom in Ogbia local government area of Bayelsa State, was on Tuesday searched by DSS for an unexplained reason.
The IYC President described the DSS’ action as an affront to the traditional institution of the Ijaw nation alleging that the due process of issuing official invitation to a suspect and obtaining a search warrant was not followed during the operation of the DSS.
“On Tuesday, very sad and bitter news came into Ijaw land that the DSS has invaded a property of a royal majesty, a king in Ijaw land, King Amalate Turner. The act is condemned.
“It should not be accepted by the Nigerian public. We see it as an abuse of fundamental rights of individuals of this country. The procedure was not followed. DSS should have invited the person.
“Initially, we even thought it was an armed robbery operation. It was just like the way armed robbers operate. Security agencies have modus operandi of engaging civil society. We condemn that act and I am sure the right action should be taken,” he said.