ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
Umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, has berated the Arewa Consultative Youths Movement (ACYM) over its disparaging comments on the oil spills in Nembe Local Government Area of Bayelsa State.
Arewa youths had reportedly criticised the position of Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, on the spillage that occurred at the OML 29 Wellhead 1 platform operated by the Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited.
The governor had frowned on the company’s response to the devastating spill that occurred a month ago, spewing out gas and crude oil into the Santa Barbara River in Nembe.
The spillage also resulted in pollution of the rivers and waterways in the area.
Describing the ACYM as “meddlesome interlopers”, the IYC said its comments were provocative and displayed ignorance of the issues of crude oil spills and the sufferings of the people of the Niger Delta region.
Spokesperson for IYC, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, in a statement on Monday, warned the northern youths, saying they were being used by desperate persons to provoke anger and cause disaffection among the suffering people of communities impacted by the ongoing spill.
Ekerefe said instead of the Northern youths as represented by the ACYM to focus on ways to tackle the challenges of banditry, kidnappings, killings and violence ravaging the northern states, they were venting their energy on issues they knew nothing about.
He said: ”These so-called Northern youths are ignorant and do not know the import of the prepared statement they were asked to read by their paymasters.
“If they are asked, can they mention one of the communities impacted by the ongoing spill in Nembe? We advise them to work with their elders to sort out the security challenges facing their region.
“We will adopt any strategy we deem fit to prevail on the Federal Government, Aiteo Eastern Exploration and Production Company Limited and others to stop the devastation being caused by the ongoing spill in Nembe.
“Already, operators of the damaged oil well know that they have goofed and the attempt to employ diversionary tactics to criticize those that commented on the devastation will only lead to further anger. Instead of them to galvanize their resources and energy toward ensuring that the spillage is stopped, they are busy hiring charlatans to speak and castigate stakeholders from the region.”