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IYC faults Niger Delta elders for withdrawing ultimatum

Ijaw youths, Saturday, faulted their elders and members of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) for their decision to withdraw an ultimatum they earlier have to the Federal Government to resume dialogue with them.

The youths under the auspices of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide also warned militants groups against resuming hostilities in the region.

The Eric Omare-led IYC, in a statement, insisted that dialogue and not hostilities remained the best approach to resolving knotty issues of development in the region.

“We call on militant groups in the Niger Delta region threatening renewed hostilities to exercise restraint to still give room for peaceful resolution of the Niger Delta question.

“It is the inconsistent posture and lack of sincerity on the part of the Federal Government towards resolving the issues that has led to agitators running out of patience and threatening to resume hostilities. However, we strongly believe that dialogue remains the best option towards resolving the issues”.

Omare, however, said it was hasty for members of PANDEF led by the King Alfred Diete-Spiff to have withdrawn their ultimatum after meeting with the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo.

He said the IYC believed that mere promise of dialogue and briefing on progress made with PANDEF’s 16-point demand by the government was not enough for the elders to call off their ultimatum.

He said the only dialogue that would solve the problems of the region permanently must be centered around restructuring to allow the region control its resources.

He said: “As far as the IYC is concerned the key issue that the federal government needs to dialogue with the Niger Delta people is the question of restructuring with a view to achieving fiscal federalism and resource control.

“The other issues on the PANDEF 16 points demand does not require a dialogue team between the federal government and the Niger Delta people because they are routine government responsibilities.

“Our demand for dialogue with the federal government is to primarily address the resource ownership and control question which underpins the Niger Delta struggle over the years.

“It is only a resolution of the resource ownership question which gives the communities a stake in the natural resources found in their land that would lead to permanent peace in the Niger Delta region.

“The other issues on the PANDEF 16 point agenda such as take-off of academic activities at the Martime University, construction of East West Road, funding of NDDC, Amnesty programme, Ogoni clean up, etc are only palliatives but not the root cause of the Niger Delta agitation.

“Therefore, any dialogue between the federal government and the Niger Delta people must be geared toward resolving the resource ownership and control question.

“We make bold to say that no amount of meeting between federal government and Niger Delta leaders would bring permanent peace to the region without addressing restructuring and the resource ownership question”.


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