From Noah Ebije, Kaduna
Northern youths group under the auspices of Arewa Consultative Youth Movement (ACYM) has denied ever casting aspersions on the Bayelsa State governor, Senator Duoye Diri over recent Nembe oil spill in the State.
The youth group was not happy over a publication allegedly emanated from their leader to have condemned the position of governor Diri over the oil spill.
Addressing a press conference on Thursday, Director Media and Communications of ACYM, Mallam Sani Mohammed Ali the group couldn’t have descended so low to disparage a statement of a governor on an issue they knew nothing about.
“The attention of our group has been drawn to a widely circulated publication purportedly emanating from our organisation and signed by our President Mallam Kabir Yusuf, which cast aspersions on the person and statement of the Governor of Bayelsa state, Sen. Duoye Diri on the Nembe oil spill occasioned by the blowout of Santa Barbara Well 1, OML 29 operated by AITEO Exploration and Production Company Limited in Opu Nembe, Bayelsa State.
“We wish to categorically dissociate ourselves from the said statement, as it did not emanate from our organisation, the Arewa Consultative Youth Movement (ACYM). At no time did we contemplate challenging or condemning the position of the Governor of Bayelsa State or any other person on that unfortunate incident.
“The ACYM is a responsible movement led by matured young Nigerians of Northern extraction, who believe in one Nigeria and the concept of “an injury to one is an injury to all”. Therefore, what affects the people of Nembe affects us too.
“We cannot be hasty and irresponsible in disparaging the statement of a Governor on an issue we know nothing about. How could we have commented against the Chief Security Officer of a state on a hazardous matter of this nature, when we have not visited the site of the disaster to see things for ourselves?
“Therefore, we call on the governor, the good people of Nembe community, Bayelsans and the general public to disregard and discountenance the news in its entirety. The publication is indeed a fake and fallacious orchestration by the enemies of the state, who instead of commending the governor for empathising and sympathising with his people at the nick of time, and rising up to the occasion by making efforts to provide succour for his people, but decided to play politics with the incident, in order to downplay the severity of the horrendous incident.
“We categorically condemn the malicious sponsors of the ill-intended news, for not only politicising the misfortune that befell the innocent people of Nembe, but for also trying to introduce a regional and ethnic dimension to the situation, so as to pitch the youth of the Niger Delta against their Arewa brothers. In this, they have failed woefully, for we have come of age and would not allow ourselves to be used as pawns to fight political wars.
“The magnitude of devastation this has caused the source of livelihood of the people and the ecosystem of that side of the Niger Delta is alarming and a great source of concern to all men of good conscience.
“After analysing the devastating calamity, we unequivocally support the position of Governor Diri and commend his people-oriented leadership for identifying with his people at the time of their need. That is the hallmark of a responsible and responsive leader.
“We call on the federal government to as a matter of urgency penalise the company and ensure it takes necessary steps to remedy the environment, pay compensation and be more responsible in their operations going forward, to serve as deterrence to others.
“We urge Aiteo Exploration and Production Company Limited to show more professionalism in its operations and be humane in its relationship with its host communities.
“We commiserate with the affected communities and the entire people of the Niger Delta on this horrific misfortune”. Mallam Ali said.