IYC vows support for Ijaws of Edo over Gelegele
By Abavo Kingsley, Benin
The fiery Ijaw Youths Council has declared its solidarity for the Ijaw people of Edo State.
This is in the face of prevailing contention to the ownership of the oil rich bearing Gelegele community between the Ijaws and Benin people which has sparked subtle crisis between the two ethnic nations.
In reaction, national President Ijaw Youths Council, Barrister Eric Omare has declared; “We are solidly behind the Ijaws of Edo State in the defence and protection of our indigenous rights.”
Omare spoke last weekend in a meeting of Elders of Olodiama Clan, and the Ijaw Youths Council held in Gelegele to deliberate on the brewing crisis.
Speaking at the meeting underlined with the spirit of oneness in the struggle against external aggression and emancipation of the Ijaw nation, Omare stated; “We are not begging, but we are demanding our rights. The Ijaw people are indigenous to communities that they are living in Edo State.”
He pointed out that the Ijaws of Edo State have been discriminated against over the years by their neighbors and the Edo State Government. Hence they have tolerated enough and now demand that the Ijaws must be incorporated into the Exco of the State Government.
“In recent times, it is a taboo to have Ijaw man in Government House of Edo State. The best we ever had is SSA. on security. What is security?
“In the past four days, I have been receiving reports particularly on Gelegele ports. The unprovoked aggression against our people here must stop.
“It is unheard of for unknown people, strangers to come to an Ijaw community to attempt to build without our permission. “It is not acceptable, and it must stop.
Further, Omare bared his thought on the gas flaring by Dubril Oil at the centre of Gelegele Community. According to him, the act is appalling, and unprecedented, something which does not happen elsewhere in Nigeria or any part of the world.
“For gas flare to be situated in the centre of the community and the people of Gelegele have been living in this harsh environmental condition for decades, it is unacceptable, it is condemnable and it also shows that the Nigeria government have no respect for the life of the Ijaw people especially that of Gelegele.”
Consequently, Omare urged that the gas flaring in the centre of Gelegele should urgently be removed by the Federal government through the Ministry of Petroleum and that of environment.
Also, most importantly, the people of Gelegele must be compensated for the several years of environmental disaster that has been caused by the gas flaring in the community.
He however pleaded with the people of Ijaw especially the youths to be calm and law abiding as it has not reached the point of retaliation and violence adding that they must wait for instruction from leadership of the Ijaw youths group, and others.
Asserting that the Ijaw people are peace loving and don’t cherish attacking people unnecessarily, he warned that when they attacked, they have the capacity to respond appropriately.
Engr. Pius Donya Robinson a native of Gelegele and member, Technical Committee on Gelegele proposed seaport commissioned by Governor Godwin Obaseki to do the grounds work. assured that the State Government will address all issues surrounding establishing the seaport as it is working hard to ensure there is peace, to enable investors be part of the proposed project.
He added, that many foreign investors have indicated interest.