From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Professor Benjamin Okaba has declared that the refusal of President Muhammadu Buhari to meet the demands tabled before him by Ijaw leaders during their last meeting in Abuja may lead to the declaration of a Republic by the Ijaw Nation.
Okaba who stated this in Yenagoa during a reception and award of excellence organised by the people of Akassa, Nembe and Ogbia communities in honour of the National Vice-President 2 of the INC, Chief Nengi James-Eriworio and the National Legal Adviser, Mrs. Bomo Tom’s Fetefigi-Obhe, said the demands of true federalism, resources control and self-determination tabled before President Buhari are non-negotiable.
While disclosing that the final ratification on the declaration of the Ijaw Republic depend on the outcome of the proposed all Ijaw Elders’ conference, the INC is not ready to back down on its demands.
According to Okaba they had told President Buhari that if their demands are met they would be forced to declare Ijaw republic.
The INC President however expressed sadness that despite the peaceful and cordial discussion with President Buhari, there are indications that some political elements are being used to divide the Ijaw Nation and derail the united position of the Ijaw ethnic nationality.
He therefore warned those behind the anti-Ijaw nation to desist and stop comparing the Ijaw Nation to the Oduduwa and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“There is no room for further neo-colonialism. It either we are answered or we are moving out.
“Even when we are crying that the PIB is against us, the government is against us. We have also heard that the water resources bill is coming back. In fact they want to take over our waters, land and our lives,” he said.