By Samuel Oyadongha, Yenagoa
President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) worldwide, Timothy Igbefa has blamed the upsurge in armed attacks and killings in some parts of the country on the refusal of the Federal Government to address causes of agitations in the regions.
He said the cases of insecurity will drop to the lowest ebb if the Federal Government does not allow the regions to agitate before being provided basic amenities and equity infrastructural development.
Igbefa, who was a guest at the birthday celebration of the IYC National Spokesman, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe in Yenagoa on Sunday, said his advice for President Muhammadu Buhari is to address those agitations presented by the troubled region.
“To solve these cases of rising insecurity in some parts of the country, It’s very simple. Mr. President should not allow regions to agitate for everything they ought to have.
“Anything that is due them, don’t allow them to agitate for it, those are the things that bring in insecurity. If they do not agitate and you duly give them there will be no insecurity. Now that the region is very peaceful the president must do the needful on NDDC, on Amnesty, and every federal sector in the region.
“The president must be very proactive and timely then there will be no issues. The region, is very safe and we are hopeful that if Mr. President sustains this tempo by doing the right thing in the region, of course, it will continue to be much better than we even are,” he said.
On the ultimatum handed to the Federal Government on Sunday by the ethnic nationalities led by the Ijaw Youth Council, Igbefa restated that the council has made its position clear.
“The Ijaw Youth Council in her Exco meeting and her stakeholder meeting in Port Harcourt have given the Federal Government one month notice. Within this one month, it is expected that Mr. President, will do the needful to inaugurate the board and let us see how the board in our region will not function properly anymore.”
He however warned that if there is no visible response from the Federal Government after the one-month ultimatum, the Ijaw youths will shut down all oil exploration activities in the Niger Delta region and cut off the region from the country. If there is no positive response, we shall take action. We will shut down the entire region if there is no action from Mr. President within the time frame we have given him there is no compromise.”
Earlier in a statement responding to the ultimatum issued by the IYC, the Special Assistant on Youth Matters to the Interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Engr Udengs Eradiri on Sunday called for calm from the Ijaw Youth Council following the latter’s threat to shut down the region with protests.
Eradiri, a former President of the IYC, pleaded with the IYC to exercise caution and give room to President Buhari, Godswill Akpabio, and the Interim Sole Administration of the NDDC, Effiong Akwa to find a lasting solution to the problems bedeviling the Commission.
He said: “Our youths should reconsider their position to shut down the region in protest in view of the prevailing security situations in the country. The security challenges in the country do not favour protest by a large crowd because it can be hijacked by hoodlums, who are always lurking around to infiltrate such movement and hijack it to shed the blood of innocent lives. IYC, as a responsible organization, cannot create such opportunities for hoodlums and bandits at this trying time in our country.
“Giving such ultimatum amounts to arm-twisting the President, who in his wisdom, based on consultations and advice by the Niger Delta governors, ordered a forensic audit of the commission. Senator Godswill Akpabio has taken his time to explain that Buhari’s intention is to conclude the forensic audit before the inauguration of the board. The delay in concluding the audit is not the fault of Akpabio, who is labouring to ensure that the NDDC is repositioned to deliver on its mandate.
“The audit was delayed by budgetary constraints, but following pleas by the Minister, the Presidency resolved the bottlenecks by taking over the funding of the audit. That the audit has recorded tremendous progress. The auditors are now on field assignments after which they will write and submit their reports. It is instructive to note that the President desires an end to the audit before inaugurating a new board to give the NDDC a new and responsible beginning. Any attempt to put the board in place without concluding the ongoing investigations will derail the forensic audit.
“As a former IYC President, I also want the board to be inaugurated. But I have since observed that having a board has never been the problem of the NDDC. The commission has always had a board. But the problems over the years have been institutionalized corruption, failure of an accountable system, and misappropriation of our commonwealth. I am convinced that the NDDC requires total cleansing and procedural and managerial changes to restore the dignity of the commission and ensure it realises its mandates. If at the end of the audit, we have a responsible and accountable NDDC, then it is worth the wait.