Educational Neglect in Riverine Areas: Youth Group Threatens Showdown With Okowa

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By Shina Badmus

Following alleged marginalisation of education in the riverine areas of Delta State, a youth group – the Delta Ijaw Youth Movement For Political Advancement (DIYMPA) has threatened to act against the administration of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa by 5th of February, 2019, if their demands are not addressed.

DIYMPA, made this in a statement signed by Comrade John Dekawei (President), Justin Bebenimibo (Spokesperson) and Eric Egenimiekumor (Secretary), they said: “We wish to express our anger towards the Delta State Government for the educational deprivation bedevilling the riverine communities in Delta State. We have watched with utter dismay as the successive governments of Delta State keep depriving our people of the basic educational needs.

“After a meticulous assessment and inspection of the primary and post primary schools in the Delta Ijaw communities, we have come to an unequivocal conclusion that there is a deliberate and calculated ploy to continually deprive the Delta Ijaw communities of their right to education. The media is rife with reports of classrooms construction and renovation but none of these could be found in the Ijaw communities.

“Virtually all schools in Ijaw communities are in a dejected state. The classrooms are dilapidated. There are no infrastructures to aid the teaching-learning process. What could be best described as the most filthy, wretched and dreggy environment is what we have as schools in Ijaw nation. After 4 years, the Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa led government has not commissioned a single classroom in Ijaw nation,”

They lamented adding that, “Even more disheartening is the absence of teachers in all primary and secondary schools in Ijaw communities. The government has always exhibited sheer indifference when it comes to deployment of teachers to schools in riverine communities. The Ijaw people have always resorted to self help by employing auxilliary and volunteer teachers who teach on the basis of pro bono and sometimes are encouraged with pittance by the various communities.

“We want to state it without fear or favour that the moment of silence is over. It is a matter of constitutional right in line with the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy that the Ijaw people benefit from free and compulsory education as oil producing communities feeding the state. The Delta State government must understand that the schools in Ijaw communities are of equal legal status with every other government school in Delta State and must be accorded the due privileges they deserve by virtue of such status.

“At this juncture, we want to notify the Delta State Government and every other relevant authority that we have unanimously and collectively agreed to carry out a first of its kind protest on Tuesday, the 5th day of February, 2019 at the Delta State Government House, Asaba in collaboration with countless NGOs and CSOs to express our displeasure towards the Delta State Government vis-a-vis the educational deprivation in Ijaw land,” they warned.

Not yet done, they concluded by saying, “We are also by this statement calling on all representatives and political appointees of Ijaw ethnic extraction in Delta State to immediately find solution to the problem of educational neglect in Ijaw land as we would develop no soft spot for anyone of them by the time we launch our action plan.”