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IJAW YOUTH COUNCIL (IYC)

WORLDWIDE

May 11, 2016

PRESS STATEMENT

RENEWED HOSTILITIES AND NIGER DELTA AVENGERS: IYC CALL ON BUHARI TO CONSTRUCTIVELY ENGAGE THE NIGER DELTA PEOPLE AND NOT TO TREAT THE REGION LIKE AN ENEMY TERRITORY

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide calls on President Buhari to constructively engage the people of the Niger Delta region and not treat the region like a conquered and enemy territory. The renewed hostilities in the Niger Delta region are as a result of the combative and dictatorial approach of the Buhari administration towards issues affecting the Niger Delta region.

Since assumption of office, instead of improving upon existing projects and programmes, the IYC has observed a deliberate policy of the Buhari administration to reverse projects and programmes that were put in place to develop and empower the region such as the cancellation of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, massive reduction in the budget of the Presidential Amnesty programme and disengagement of beneficiaries without training and empowerment/ employment, reduction in the budget of the Niger Delta Development Commission and the near zero allocation to the Niger Delta Ministry despite increment in the national budget from four trillion to six trillion. All these decisions were taken without any sort of engagement with stakeholders. Up till this moment the federal government has not deem it fit engage the people and offer any reason why the Maritime University, Okerenkoko was cancelled and Amnesty budget reduced by almost eighty percent.

It must also be noted that the IYC has consistently advocated for an economic solution to the issue of illegal bunkering in the region. It is not enough for the illegal refineries to be destroyed and those involved arrested but they should be a creative mechanism to legalise the activities of these people so as to make them useful to society. It is a fact that the reason for the involvement of local people in illegal refinery activities is because of the lack of participation of the people in the resources that are found in their land: a case of poverty in the midst of plenty.

It would be recall that the IYC made several efforts to call the attention of President Buhari to the ripple effects of his actions but they were all ignored. While we do not support the destruction of oil facilities, we must state clearly that the renewed hostilities and attacks on oil facilities are the resultant effects of the combative and dictatorial approach of the Buhari administration to issues of affecting the region. We had expected President Buhari to adopt a more democratic approach rather than threatening to crush imaginary militants and oil bunkers at every opportunity.

The IYC therefore call on President Buhari to adopt a democratic approach by engaging the people of the region on issues affecting the region rather than treating the region like a conquered and enemy territory. The military option without addressing the fundamental problems affecting the region is not a solution.

Signed for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide:

Eric Omare,

Spokesman