The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Kalabari Se-Ikpangi, has expressed its displeasure at the bill for an Act before the National Assembly sponsored by Senator Olamilekan Adeola ( APC Lagos West ) which has scaled through its second reading seeking to include Bauchi, Lagos and Ogun States in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
In a press release made available to GbaramatuVoice and signed by Comrade Isaiah Johnson Obiechere, the Public Relations Officer, and Comrade Edward Asikitams, chairman, IYC Kalabari Se-Ikpangi, it said: “This brazen attempt by state-sponsored agents under the guise of legislators in the National Assembly whose sole agenda is to continue in the perpetuation of injustice and systemic exploitation of the resources of the Niger Delta people through obnoxious laws that seek to undermine our collective existence, is highly condemnable and we warn that it could lead to further resistance in the region.
“Let us make this points clear that the NDDC is an interventionist agency set up after years of agitation in the Niger Delta region to address the lingering issues of environmental degradation caused by decades of oil exploration and extraction which has left many in the region in abject poverty due to the irreversible damage of the ecosystem and resultant loss of livelihood.
“As the name implies, NDDC is a regional development agency, therefore the attempt by state collaborators in the National Assembly to include regions that are not part of the Niger Delta into the commission is unacceptable. we regard this as a confrontation that must be resisted.
Niger Delta remains the only region with oil and gas reserves of commercial quantity and value. It remains the only region that has been sustaining the economy of this nation for decades with nothing to show for it but death, destruction, poverty, oppression and injustice.
“The systemic plundering of the Niger Delta region by agents of the Federal Government through every dubious means conceivable can no longer be overlooked. The lopsided laws that only seem to target the mineral resources of the Niger Delta region in exclusion of those in other regions can no longer be acceptable.
Ogun and Lagos States in the South-West, Bauchi in North East, are not part of the region designated as the Niger Delta.
“We challenge the sponsors of this bill to show to us the environmental degradation on a scale comparable to that in the Niger Delta region to warrant the inclusion of those states in the commission,” it stressed adding that, ” we advise the sponsors of this despicable bill and their collaborators who have now set their covetous gaze on the NDDC as a means of siphoning state funds to look elsewhere.
“We commend all those who stand in condemnation of this appalling bill while calling on all true patriots of the Niger Delta region to lend their voices against this broad daylight robbery in the guise of legislation.
“We want to unequivocally state that we will resist any attempts to foist any arbitrary legislation on the Niger Delta region or any law that seeks to include non-Niger Delta states to the commission in whatever guise. We will no longer fold our arms while our oppressors continue to taunt and preempt us.
“We, therefore, join our brothers in the struggle for better, peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta to condemn in its totality the bill for an act seeking to amend the NDDC Act to incorporate regions that are not stipulated for in the interest of peace.
“We equally call on President Muhammadu Buhari not to sign the bill into law in the interest of justice and equity as it is the only reasonable thing to do,” it concluded.