Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has again demanded the relocation of the offices of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) to the Niger Delta region.
According to the group, the amnesty office and the Niger Delta ministry would function better when they are located in the region where their duties cover.
The IYC President, Pereotubo Oweilaemi, who made these demands during this year’s celebration of Boro day in Kaiama, Bayelsa State, also appealed to President Mohammadu Buhari to make Prof Nelson Brambiafa the substantive Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
“Just like NDDC is cited in the region, the Ministry and the Amnesty office can only effectively function once they are relocated to the region. Those offices have no business stationed in Abuja,” he stated.
Oweilaemi, who seized the opportunity of the anniversary of the historic Kaiama Declaration to restate the position of the Ijaw nation on re-structuring, true federalism and resource control, said Buhari should reward the outstanding performance of Brambiafa for bringing the desired peace to the Niger Delta region.
His words: “51 years after Isaac Boro laid down his life for the unity of this country, the issues that caused its near collapse have not been addressed thereby threatening the country’s continuous corporate existence.
“Successive governments for the past 51 years have refused to heed to the popular demands of restructuring, true federalism and resource control which are a panacea to addressing the wounds of the civil war.
“For us in the Niger Delta, our grievances can only be addressed only if the country is restructured. We will never back down on our collective struggle for the liberation of the region until we attain our political independence.
“All we ask for is resource control, true federalism and equal political participation among the various ethnic groups that formed this federation.”
On the spate of insecurity in the country especially on the East- West road, the IYC president advocated for an amendment of the constitution to devolve more powers to the states.
“We need state and community police to effectively tackle the menace of insecurity. For the sake of peace in the region, FG should establish coastal areas development agency for the inaccessible coastal dwellers in the Niger Delta. Our demands herein are in addition to the timely completion of the East West Road, as well as beefing up security in the East West Road, especially in the Bayelsa and Rivers axis.”