Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa, Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki, Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin and Layi Olanrewaju, Ilorin
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has accused the Federal Government of allowing the peaceful protest against police brutality get out of hand.
The group also condemned the brute force on defenceless protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos by soldiers calling on the Federal Government to constitute an independent panel of inquiry to unravel the truth about the incident. They also called fo the restructuring of the country.
Spokesman of the IYC, Ebilade Ekerefe, who addressed a press conference in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, said Ijaw youths were not happy with the way the Federal Government handled the protests that it snowballed into killings and loss of lives.
He decried the violence in Port Harcourt in the guise of #EndsSARS protest, adding that the incident which led to the beheading of Oliver Igbani, a police inspector from Otuokpoti by irate pro-Biafra youths, was unacceptable.
“Ijaw youths are unrepentant apostles of resource control. It is on this note we support the gold mining of Zamfara State government as that is the hallmark of true federalism. All we ask for is that the Niger Delta people should also be allowed to control our oil and gas resources. It is double standard and provocative when the Federal Government criminalises oil bunkering in the Niger Delta and support gold mining in Zamfara State.
“There’s no better time to restructure Nigeria than now. The agitations are unbecoming an the 2014 National Confab Report has addressed the concerns of a restructured Nigeria. We, therefore, demand for its immediate implementation.
“While we will collaborate with the military to fish out criminals from our creeks, we shall also not accept the invasion of such communities in the name of searching for alleged criminals. We demand that henceforth, this pattern should stop as most communities are still yet to recover socioeconomically from such invasions.”
Ekerefe said Ijaw youths were displeased with moves to retrench workers of Ijaw origin from oil firms warning that it would not accept the sacking of Ijaw people working in the oil sector.
The council also called on the Federal Government to take decisive steps to stop gas flaring, which over the years, had affected oil communities.
It also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to come to the aid of communities submerged by flood in the Niger Delta and to sign without delay the bill establishing the Maritime University Okerenkoko.
Similarly, youths in the South East have also released a five-point demand to the Federal Government as conditions to stop the ongoing protests across the region.
For two weeks, the peaceful EndSARS protests which later snowballed into violence and criminality, had paralysed economic activities in the zone.
But the youths in a meeting with governors and leaders of the zone on Sunday said they were willing to leave the streets and allow order to return if the Federal Government was ready to meet their demands.
Some of the conditions included the complete dredging of River Niger and upgrading of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu to the status of a truly international airport by approving the operations of airlines like the British Airways, Emirate, Quarter airways, Air France and Delta Airline.
Chairman of the South East Governors Forum and Governor of Ebonyi State, Chief David Umahi, who briefed journalists on the outcome of the meeting in Abakaliki Sunday night, said the youths also demanded that the Federal Government begin massive rehabilitation of all roads in the zone and ensure the completion of the second Niger Bridge to boost economic activities in the zone.
They equally demanded that certain percent of government’s budgets be reserved for youths to meet their welfare.
Umahi said the governors and leaders of the zone condemned the shootings at Lekki Tollgate in Lagos which led to the death of some peaceful protesters, adding that leaders of the zone called for a thorough investigation of the matter with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.