From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
Ijaw Youths across the Niger Delta region have assured President Muhammad Buhari and the Defence Headquarters that the youths of the region have no plans to protest, destabilize and disrupt the existing peace in the region.
The Ijaw youths under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), clarification came against the backdrop of a warning by the Defence Headquarters to Niger Delta youths against breach of peace in the region.
IYC in another statement issued by its national spokesman, Mr Ebilade Ekerefe, said though the position presented by the ijaw youths after the signing of the PIB into law by President Muhammadu Buhari is expressive enough, it does not mean the region will be thrown into crisis and destabilization.
According to him the defence headquarters rather than being reactionary should advise President Buhari to dialogue with Niger Delta youths.
He insisted that the youths are angry over the refusal of the present administration to listen to the calls of the region on various issues, including the refusal of setting up a substantive board for the NDDC and the speedy manner the President signed the controversial PIA despite the outright rejection from stakeholders in the region.
The statement read in part “The defence headquarters should adopt a visionary status of advising the Buhari administration on these contentious issues that may lead to breach of peace and security rather than been reactionary and issuing threats. The youths are not planning to engage in any protest march or engage in fresh hostilities to destabilize the existing peace in the region we’ve contributed so hard to sustain.”
“For the information of the defence headquarters, Ijaw Youths are more matured and disposed to robust intellectual engagements on issues. However, the military authorities should understand that the Niger Delta youths would not allow the region fall into the plot to destroy communities like they did in the past”
“Instead of out rightly encouraging continued dialogue between the region and President Buhari administration, the military is busy issuing statement of threats against a region that has kept faith with peace despite the insurmountable security challenges in the North-East, Benue and Kaduna states.
“The only way out is for the youths to continue to demand for town hall meetings with the Honourable Minister and explain why the agreed 10% was reduced to a meagre 3%. Our people deserve to know and until that process is initiated, we won’t go back on our earlier stand.”
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