ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has implored stakeholders and youths of the Niger Delta to shun the temptations of allowing the pipeline surveillance contract awarded to Chief Government Ekpemupolo, aka Tompolo, to be a source of internal conflict, destabilisation and insecurity of the region.
President, INC, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, made this known during an interface with some concerned Ijaw youth groups on the trending oil pipeline surveillance contract at Ijaw House, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Okaba said the people of the Niger Delta, particularly those from the Ijaw extraction, must unite and not allow the contract, which he described as “crumbs” to tear the region apart.
He said it was unfortunate and ridiculous that Ijaw brothers were threatening to kill themselves over crumbs (not even by way of ownership of oil wells) given to them to help the “State siphon away our God-given wealth.”
Okaba stated: “Recently, the INC has been buffeted with reports of brewing tensions among various Ijaw youth groups as a result of the pipeline surveillance contract. We frown at such divisive tendencies and propensities.
“It must not be said that the token was targeted at creating an arena of infighting among Ijaw and Niger Delta people and distract them from focusing on our well-articulated goals and objectives.
“There are oppressive and suppressive national issues that are confronting us a people. For instance, the National Water Resources Bill, designed to subjugate us further, which requires our collective resolve and determination ‘as to defeat this monstrous agenda’ in collaboration with other concerned ethnic groups that share contiguous peculiarities with us.
“We must take cognizance of this fact and other dangers to our existential realities as Ijaw people in a convoluted Nigerian polity.
“Our people have already suffered enough invasions and harassment by federal troops over the years on account of our oil and gas wealth. As you all know, our people are mainly farmers and fishermen and women who depend on our rivers, swamps and creeks for survival.”
He said the interface, therefore, was primarily to enable them to come together as a family to understand themselves better and see the urgent need to forge a common front regarding the surveillance contract.
He clearly advised the youths and other stakeholders that there was no need for the threats and counter-threats being brandished from different quarters.