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PIB: Buhari, Sylva not welcome in Niger Delta – Ijaw youths


Ijaw Youths declare Buhari, Sylva unwelcomedin Niger Delta

Ijaw youths on Wednesday says the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd) and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, should forget visiting any of the six states in the Niger Delta region.

According to The PUNCH, the youths cited their (Buhari and Sylva) influence and subtle roles in the signing of the Petroleum Industrial Bill into law, despite the outcry from Nigerians.

While conceding that both Buhari and Sylva have the constitutional rights to move to any parts of the country, the Ijaw youths insisted that “their movement into the six states of the Niger Delta will be welcome with boos and disgraceful jeers due to their show of disregard to the plights and cry of the people of the region over the years”.

Recall that the Ijaw Youths, under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, had on Tuesday rejected the signing of the controversial Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) by the President arguing that signing of the PIB into law as it was tantamount to “a total affront to the outcry of the people of the Niger Delta region against the three per cent provision for the oil-producing communities”.

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The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), in a signed statement by the National Publicity Secretary, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, said the decision not to welcome Buhari and Sylva to the region was “a further show of disdain to their drop in the ratings of the Niger Delta people and should not expect any accolades and congratulatory messages from the region”.

“With the amount of speed the President used in signing the PIB without recourse to the stem stand by stakeholders from the region, the President has further demonstrated that the opinions of the Niger delta people don’t matter in his government as we’ve witnessed in other areas that require urgent attention of his government”, the Ijaw youths stated.

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According to the statement, the best course of action to have been taken by the President was to send the bill back to the National Assembly for upward review of the three per cent equity share to host communities whose environments had suffered decades of oil exploration activities by the oil companies.

“Therefore, a substantial percentage to the Hostcom would’ve helped to address this age-long criminality. Until that is done, there’s nothing to celebrate”, the statement affirmed.

The statement described as an afterthought an explanation offered by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva on the three per cent, saying that what the Minister should have done, as an illustrious son of the soil, was to apologize and appeal to the consciences of our people, rather than justifying an act which is politically tailored to favour the North and its allies in the industry.

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The IYC spokesperson noted that “it is a rape to justice and equity for the National Assembly to pass three per cent equity share to the host communities while passing 30% to frontier basins which in our view is grossly inadequate and it is against the unanimous 10% agreement by stakeholders for Hostcom when the National Assembly visited the region”.

The Ijaw Youths continued, “In the light of the foregoing, there’s no better time for the people of the Niger Delta region to intensify the struggle for resource control and self-determination.

“We believe strongly that that will be the only sure path upon which our God giving natural resources can be managed by us, and not this impunity we’ve witnessed from a repressive federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari”.