Inside Niger Delta


YENAGOA – THE umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to take the lead in the dialogue with the Niger Delta stakeholders over the resurgence of militancy in the region.

The group said the dialogue would be taken more seriously if Buhari led the negotiation rather than engaging self-serving politicians.

The President of IYC,  Udengs Eradiri, who spoke with journalists in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, on Wednesday, said it was only when the President took the bull by the horns, by sitting at the head of the negotiation table, like his predecessors, that there would be a lasting solution to the crises in the region.

Eradiri said he would not participate in any negotiation unless President Buhari sat at the head of the negotiation table.

He reiterated that the issues on hand were not about the Ijaw or the Niger Delta people alone, but that of recurring leadership failures in the country.

Eradiri said, “There is nothing on ground; I don’t trust the process (dialogue). There have been a plethora of negotiations in the past. All this government needs to do is to take a holistic approach to the problems of the Niger Delta. The issue is not about the Niger Delta people or the Ijaw; it is about leadership failure in Nigeria.

“That’s why I have been praying for the President to be hale and hearty; the President should stand up, take the lead in solving the problems. There are success stories of his predecessors taking such steps.

“That’s why the groundnut pyramid disappeared, when the government was not ready to cure the epidemic that was in vogue then. Cocoa disappeared from the South-West when they could not face it. Tomatoes are disappearing, because leadership is not responsible.

“If Ebola comes now, Nigerians will all die because of the present attitude of government. The problem has been the failure of leadership, it is failing; let us restructure Nigeria.”

Eradiri also spoke on the need for the Buhari-led Federal Government to implement and work with the National Conference report, saying the reports of the confab which was attended by all the geo-political zones would be a very good starting point in restructuring the nation.

He said the crime rate, insecurity such as Boko Haram, IPOB, the Niger Delta Avengers and other splinter militia groups were indicators of a failing system.

While speaking on the crisis currently brewing in the IYC, Eradiri maintained that those fanning the embers of disunity within the body were being sponsored by the government and some elements.

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