Don’t plunge Rivers state into crisis, IYC warns Wike, Fubara, others

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has vowed not to allow the current political turbulence in the Rivers state between Governor Siminilayi Fubara and the Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nyesom Wike plunge the state into crisis.

The council stated this in a communique issued Sunday at the end of a one-day peace and security Summit convened by the IYC with leaders of various youth bodies from different ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta sued for peace.

The council said the peace and security summit, held on May 17, 2024, was aimed to unite all youth groups from the diverse ethnic nationalities of the region. 

The communique was jointly signed by IYC National President, Alaye Theophilus, President, Bayelsa Youth Association, Doupere Precious, President Ibom Youth Council, Lord Knight, President Urhobo Youth Leader Council, Emuejevoke Esesiobe, among other presidents of national youth groups.

It said the state is critical to both the region and the nation, and as such it cannot stand idle and watch while it descends into crisis.

The council stated: “On the Political Stability in Rivers State, we urge the politicians causing political turbulence in the state to sheath their swords. This state is critical to both the region and the nation, and we cannot stand idle and watch while it descends into crisis.

“We advocate for peace throughout the entire Niger Delta region, not just in Rivers State. Peace fosters development, and we are committed to preventing the current crisis in Rivers State from escalating into a breakdown of law and order.”

The council called on the federal government to support the various states to reduce crime and create a business friendly environment for all.

It noted that the federal government should collaborate with various youth and community leaders to provide better waterway security in the region to boost the blue economy. 

The Council also called on the federal government to initiate a process of restructuring this country as a matter of national importance.

It added: “We believe that only True Federalism can transform our nation. Therefore, we call on the federal government to initiate a process of restructuring this country as a matter of national importance. 

“The burden of leadership and development is too concentrated in the presidency. True federalism is essential for the prosperity of our nation, and we need it now.”

It said as a matter of national urgency the federal government should, through the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), direct all International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in our region to relocate their head office to the Niger Delta region.

The statement also called on the governors in the region to unite in combating common enemies — which are poverty and underdevelopment. 

It urged the governors to leverage their positions to champion peace and security in the region and to ensure that external forces like herdsmen do not undermine people.

The council also called on the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, start the implementation of the 3 per cent host community fund in order for our people to enjoy the benefits of the Petroleum Industry Act (PIA).

“The gas flaring effect fund that is being collected by the federal government should be directed to the impacted communities rather than going into the federal government purse,” it said.

“We request that the federal government swiftly distributes pipeline contracts among different ethnic groups. While we are not opposed to a single company handling the contracts, we believe that involving multiple leaders from different areas will enhance effectiveness and yield better results.”