We’ll take Ijaw struggle beyond Nigeria – INC

Meeting of Ijaw National Congress (INC)
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By Deborah Coker

The Ijaw National Congress (INC) says time has come to take the “Ijaw struggle” beyond Nigeria.

The INC stated this position in a communique at the end of 2024 edition of the Ijaw National Day Celebration held in Yenagoa.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the communique was signed by Prof. Benjamin Okaba, President of INC.

Okaba said that the vexatious factors that provoked grievances between the late Maj. Adaka Boro and the federal government in the improper management of the oil political economy of Nigeria, had remained unmitigated.

He noted that the situation had worsened with its attendant impunity.

According to him, the Ijaw environment continues to bear the brunt of petroleum resources exploitation-related pollution without concomitant remediation or reparations of the heavily despoiled ecosystem.

“Instead, Ijaw communities still face the adverse effects of uncontrollable spills, perennial flooding, ocean encroachment and so on.”

The INC president noted that at different forums, it had been made clear that the Ijaw agenda of self-determination was premised on resource and environmental justice.

“What all Ijaw people seek is for a fair, just and justifiable reward for our resources and sacrifices.

“The Ijaw Congress has articulated a set of prescient conditions for its continuous commitment to the Nigerian project and these include restoration of true federalism (fiscal federalism).

“Devolution of power and repel of all obnoxious and discriminatory environmental and resource related laws (Land Use, PIA), as well as restoration of Ijaw Territory as non-balkanised, administrative and politically generated unit(s).

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“This is for the reassurance and promotion of Ijaw developmental pursuits by creating at least two additional states, more local government areas and wards for the Ijaws.

“Remediation of our massively polluted and endangered environment and the enforcement of adherence to international environmental best practices by IOC’s operating in Ijaw territories,” he said.

Okaba also demanded for the relocation of the administrative headquarters of all oil companies and their subsidiaries to their operational bases in Ijaw territory and Niger Delta.

He further called for proper funding and management of the Interventionist Agencies such as the Presidential Amnesty Programme and Niger Delta Development Commission.

“We call for the promotion of modular refineries owned by our people.

“We also want a balance in appointment at the federal levels (the civil service, military and oil companies) as well as equitable distribution of critical infrastructure, to reflect the true principles of federal character.”

He said it was against this backdrop that the theme of the 2024 Ijaw National Day “Re-Invigorating Our Resolve to take the Ijaw struggle for Self-determination beyond Rhetoric” was derived. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)

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Edited by Emmanuel Afonne

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