..Call for a new wave of protest in Niger Delta
By Amgbare Ekaunkumo,Yenagoa
The Watchdog for Progressive Ijaw (WPI) has condemned in strong term the attack on the President of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Deacon Peter Igbifa, by some misguided #EndSARS protesters in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
The Coordinator, WPI, Lambart Olambo, said Igbifa, was on his way to the Bayelsa State Government House for an official engagement but was attacked when he alighted from his vehicle to show solidarity with the protesters, who blocked the Government House.
Olambo said the attack was led and sponsored by some youths, who were still angry that their candidates failed in the election that produced Igbifa as the eight President of the council.
He said Igbifa overwhelmingly won that election despite all odds because of his track records of excellence, hard work, generosity, integrity and belief for Ijaw unity as the only way to advance agitation for resource control and self-determinism.
Olambo said that any attack on Igbifa remained an assault on the entire Ijaw nation as the President of council represents the sacred emblems of Ijaw institutions.
He explained that #EndSARS protest started as a spontaneous response to police brutality by all youths in the country devoid of ethnicity, religion and culture adding that hiding under such protest to embarrass the IYC leader was unacceptable and unimaginable.
He said youths in the Yoruba Nation did not hide under such protest to desecrate the symbols of their cultural heritage and warned against a repeat of such indiscretion.
Olambo commended Igbifa for his equanimity in the face of such provocation adding that his calmness had reinforced his personality as a symbol of Ijaw unity.
He said: “The leadership of IYC is highly strategic. It is designed to protect and preserve the Ijaw nation by leading agitation for fairness, equity, resource control and self determinism. In as much as we condemn police brutality, we beleive that the current protest has some political underpinnings and we do not want the Ijaw to play into the hands of their enemies, who want to use the protest to negotiate us out of the 2023 powerplay.
“If a Gani Adams and other Oduduwa youth leaders are not on the streets leading the #EndSARS protest in Lagos and other Southwest states, why will an Igbifa and other Ijaw cultural leaders be on the streets of Yenagoa and Port Harcourt. Igbifa with the IYC is in support of totally ending police brutality and a comprehensive police reform to stop extra-judicial killings.
“However, we are not unmindful of the political undercurrents that tend to make one ethnic group superior to others in terms of the leadership of this country. IYC under the leadership of Igbifa has assured us that a new wave of protest in the Niger Delta will soon begin.
“We are going to occupy the East-West road and all the federal roads in state of disrepair in the Niger Delta. We are going to occupy some oil facilities until the Federal Government takes a road to Brass and Akassa and begin the development of the Akassa seaport.
“We shall seek to get back our crude oil just as it is with Zamfara gold and coal-mining states. We will also agitate for increase in derivation funds and better funding for the Niger Delta Development Commission to enable it develop our region.
“There is a need for us to be united and rally round the leadership of IYC to realise its vision for the Ijaw nation. This is no time to fan the ambers of animosity and division”.