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…protest billed for same day at National Assembly

There is an imminent clash between the Ijaw youths and their Itsekiri counterparts, when the two groups stage protests at the National Assmbly complex, Abuja over the renaming of the Maritime University, located in Okerenkoko, Delta State.

The Ijaw youths across the Niger Delta, under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), rising up after a meeting held at Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom has mobilized to stage a counter protest in defense of their position on the issue of the naming of the maritime tertiary institution. 

The Chairman of the Ijaw Youths Council, Comrade Godswill Doubra Wuruyai disclosed this in a press statement he signed and released on Wednesday.

The statement reads in part; ”Our attention has been drawn to a publication made by the Itsekiri Youths Council (INYC), in the January 9th 2018 edition of the Vanguard Newspaper, signed by its Secretary Mr. Joseph Uwawah.

”In it, Mr. Uwawah has disclosed that they (Itsekiri youths) are converging on the National Assembly to stage a one million man match to the National Assembly, to force and cow it to reject the ideal name of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko which was upheld by the revered Nigerian Senate and Federal House of Representatives, through facts gathered from two separate Public Hearings which produced the NMU Act, now awaiting the assent of the President, with a pseudo name ‘Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenghigho’, as instructed by the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr. Malami.

”Ordinarily, we wouldn’t have responded to this malicious bid, but for the fact that such protest, if not instantaneously matched with a counter protest will ridicule members of both the Lower and the Red Chambers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and may erroneously create the impression that both houses are working in tandem with certain saboteurs to undermine an important project

”For this reason, Ijaw youths across the Niger Delta under the aegis of the IYC having risen from an emergency meeting held at Oporoza, the traditional headquarters of Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West L.G.A., have unanimously agreed to stage a 5 million man march in Abuja on the same day with the INYC proposed protest in defense of the well informed position of National Assembly on Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko based on the following reasons:

”The decision reached by the NASS to uphold the name ‘Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko’ as against ‘Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenghigho’ was reached through facts presented by both Ijaws of Gbaramatu and the Itsekiri ethnic group.

”The decision reached by both the Lower and the Red Chambers of the National Assembly, to uphold the name; Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko was reached based on superior facts presented by the Ijaws of Gbaramatu Kingdom to the NASS, as against those presented by their Itsekiri counterparts.

”It is logically inconsistent that a decision reached by both the Lower and Red Chambers to uphold the name Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, which was formed out of balanced facts, gathered from both the Ijaws of Gbaramatu Kingdom and the Itsekiri ethnic group is posited to appear outrightly wrong due to an appeal made to the Attorney-General of the Federation by the INYC which he acted upon without weighing the collateral damage such unilateral verdict would have on the well thought out decision of the NASS.

”Mr. Malami could have been wrongly influenced by the Itsekiris who are widely known for their covetous trait and land grabbing spree, to have acted out of crass ignorance without due consultation with both Committees of both Houses, on Maritime Safety, Education and Administration, to adequately brief him on the facts and procedures that led to the decision of the NASS.

”Hence, we enjoin Mr. Malami to forthwith synergize with the NASS on this matter and other matters thereto, due to the sensitive position he is holding and the effect the decision will have on the fragile peace of the Niger Delta.

”Against the backdrop of the above assertions, Ijaw youths are ready to defend the decision of the National Assembly which was reached with respect to fair hearing from both parties, as encoded in democratic principles.

”We will not allow a micro ethnic group to ridicule the hard earned Democracy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by cowing her most revered institutions to serve its selfish whims and caprices as against national interest,” the statement warned.

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