By Enaibo Asiayei
The oil firms operating within the Niger Delta region has been given seven days notice to evacuate their workers from all facilities in the area, by Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide.
The notice follows the 30-day ultimatum they gave to the Federal Government to constitute a substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The IYC President, Peter Timothy Igbifa, who confirmed the position of the council in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State said the youths would not guarantee the safety of such workers ahead of their planned shutdown of the region.
Igbifa said the youths would not rescind their decision to shut down the Niger Delta in a massive protest if after the 30 days ultimatum the Federal Government failed to inaugurate the NDDC board.
He said “We are not going to carry guns and chase anybody as Ijaw youths but we will lock down the region until our demand for the substantive board is inaugurated in the NDDC.
“In line with the ultimatum as the days are counting, we should have nine days remaining to go. All IOCs operating in our region should begin a peaceful evacuation of their personnel. We need a peaceful evacuation because we do not want anybody to take advantage of the shutdown.
“We want them to take responsibility of their personnel, remove them gently. If you have IOCs that operate flow stations, take the remaining days and time and shutdown them down gently by yourself.
“We are not coming to your flow station, shut them by yourself, we want you to shut the flames by yourself and vacate your personnel. Within these seven days remaining in the ultimatum, you can take three to four days to shut down and evacuate so we can have a peaceful shutdown.
“We have said from the beginning, we are not taking up arms, we are not shooting and this is why we pray that this thing runs gently and we pray that the Federal Government do the needful.
“The moment the board is inaugurated we will lift the ultimatum and go into a discussion on the issues that have to do with the region. We will itemize them and discuss them.
“We must achieve this task to appease Boro and the spirit of these men, who fought with him during the 12 days revolution because their spirit cannot rest until the things they fought for are achieved.”
However, Igbifa advised the Federal Government to inaugurate the board before the end of the ultimatum to avert the looming crisis.