By Perez Brisibe & Onozure Dania
UGHELLI—A clash between Itsekiri youths and their Ijaw neighbours is imminent as both groups are planning a protest in Abuja, for and against plans to change the name of the location of the Nigerian Maritime University, NMU, in Delta State, from Okerenkoko to Okerenghigho as advised by the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, in a memo to the National Assembly.
Publicity Secretary, Itsekiri National Youth Council, INYC, Joseph Uwawah, in a statement, had said its members in all the states of the country are being mobilized to converge at the National Assembly, Abuja, over the controversy trailing the naming of the university’s location.
Reacting to the planned protest by the Itsekiris, Chairman, Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, Gbaramatu clan, Goodwill Wuruyai, said that the ploy by the Itsekiris was an attempt to “force and cow the National Assembly to reject the ideal name of the university’s location.”
He noted that the protest, if not instantaneously matched with a counter protest, will ridicule members of both the green and red chambers and may erroneously create the impression that both Houses are working in tandem with certain saboteurs to undermine an important project.
He said: “For this reason, Ijaw youths across the Niger Delta, under the aegis of the IYC, have unanimously agreed to stage a five million-man-march in Abuja on the same day with the INYC’s proposed project in defence of the position of the lawmakers.”
The youths also explained that they were ready to defend the decision of the National Assembly with respect to fair hearing from both Itsekiris and Ijaws as encoded in democratic principles.
Omadino people laud AGF
Meanwhile, following the advice by the Attorney-General of the Federation, AGF, to the National Assembly to act in accordance with the judgment of the Supreme Court on the issue and retain the name “Okerenghigho” as the lawful name of the location of the proposed Maritime University, the people of Omadino, who have been adjudged the owners of the said estate by the judgment, yesterday, lauded the AGF for his dexterity, skilful devotion to duty, uprightness and fearlessness as demonstrated in his well-informed legal opinion on the subject.
Dr. R. Eyekosi-Uwatse, Chairman of the Omadino Management Committee, who spoke to Vanguard in Warri, Delta State, said: “I am deeply disappointed that in this modern age, there are people who consider themselves educated and desirous of a university but unfortunately at the same time are exhibiting the primitiveness of absolute disregard not only for the judgment of the court of law but that of the highest court in our land, the Supreme Court.”
He urged the National Assembly not to succumb to the blackmail of the Ijaws of Gbaramatu, who have threatened that should the said judgment be enforced, they would resume bombing of pipelines in the Niger Delta region.
“In a constitutional democracy like the type we practise, it will be the blunder of biblical proportion for the judiciary to interpret the law only for the legislative arm to act in contempt of it,” he said.
He called on all Nigerians to unanimously speak out for once and speak the language of respect for the rule of law as, according to him: “This is the only way this country can sustain its gravitation away from the primitive state of nature where might is king.”
He requested members of the civil society, especially the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA and the international community not to maintain their silence on what he called a threat to civilisation.