Some Ijaw youths from the nine states of the Niger Delta region have vowed to proceed with their planned protest and shutdown of the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) located in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over the failure of the Nigerian Government to address issues of alleged wrongful appointment of a sole administrator for the commission.
The youths, under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, also faulted a report credited to its embattled President, Peter Timothy Igbifa, on the alleged reversal of the planned protest and shutdown, describing Igbifa’s position as “frivolous” as he is still on two months suspension from his office as President of the council.
The youth leaders represented by Comrade Tobin James (Chairman, Eastern zone), Chief Frank Akiefa, (Chairman, Western zone), Comrade Clever Osuma Inodu, (Chairman, Central zone) and Chief Diplomat Adam Ogomugo Marbo (Chairman, Abuja chapter), in a statement in Yenagoa, described the planned protest and shutdown of the NDDC headquarters as an action taken against the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a board for the commission as provided for in the act establishing the NDDC board and targeted at underdeveloping the region.
The Ijaw youth leaders in a joint statement, said despite the unfounded statement credited to Igbifa, the plan to shut down NDDC headquarters was in top gear by all structures of the Ijaw Youth Council.
The statement said, “Peter Timothy Igbifa never supported the agitations of a substantive board for NDDC and so doesn’t have any right to halt or call for the stoppage of the protest.
“The only thing that will stop the protest is for President Muahammadu Buhari to do the right thing by appointing a substantive board for NDDC that will carry out its functions properly. We are calling on every well-meaning Ijaw youth not to be distracted by the statement of Peter Timothy Igbifa, which does not reflect the decision of the council.”
National spokesman for the IYC, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, confirmed the development, saying the decision of the Ijaw youth zonal leaders to embark on a protest and shut down the NDDC headquarters is legitimate and that those calling for the cancellation of the protest are enemies of the region.
Ebilade said, “It is a people-driven and people-oriented protest that cannot be cancelled by anybody who has never been a part of the ongoing protests in the region. The protest will go on according to plan as all structures of council have been fully notified for the show down and they are all ready and waiting for the signal.
“Our intelligence unit has gathered that there is a grand plan to use security to intimidate Ijaw youths during the protest.
“We warn that any attempt to do that will be catastrophic as the right to protest is protected by law. Finally, for those who have been contracted to infiltrate us in order to cause havoc and chaos, rest assured that we shall fish you out and deal with you decisively.”