By Rejoice Egbaseimokumor

The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has called on President Bola Tinubu not to throw Nigeria, particularly the Niger Delta region into what they described as avoidable turmoil over the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme Coordinatorship.

This was contained in a statement issued on behalf of Council by the Spokesman of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC ) Worldwide, Amb. Binebai Yerin Princewill, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspapers Worldwide.

The statement had accused President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of politically alienating the Ijaws in his Government, stressing that the Ijaws will not accept any further manipulation of the Ijaws going forward under his watch as President of the country.

The statement read in full below:

Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide

Press Statement


Coordinator Of The Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), IYC Accuses Tinubu Over Political Alienation Of Ijaws In His Government

1. The Ijaw Youth (IYC) Worldwide has accused President Bola Ahmed Tinubu of suffocating the Ijaw people in his Government.

2. It is no longer a news that the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) that was established in 2009 by late President Umaru Musa Yara’Adua as a panacea for peace in the region comes with a heavy burden and huge sacrifice made by the Ijaw people.

3. Ijaw communities and Kingdoms were leveled to the ground, precious lives that could have become pillars in Ijaw, Niger Delta and Nigeria at large were lost, properties worth billions of naira were also destroyed and both the old and young spent days in the deep forests of our villages which later comes with a lot of health challenges.

4. While the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide will not join issues with other tribes in the Niger Delta region as neighbours, we must state that our underdevelopment as a region is being faced by all ethnic groups in Niger Delta and the foundation of the IYC via the Kaiama Declaration in December 11th 1998 clearly state our commitment to work with other ethnic nationalities in the region, the Ijaws have relentlessly championed this cause even at the detriment of our lives.

5. Today, the Ijaws constitute about 98% of the Presidential Amnesty Programme just as ijaw communities occupy almost 70% of all oil and gas resources within and no other tribe in the Niger Delta region can ever claim to be more accommodating, patriotic to other ethnic groups than the Ijaw people in the Niger Delta struggle for liberation of the whole region bearing in mind our development is collective and challenges similar.

6. However, the Ijaws have overtime championed minority rights movement in Nigeria. In 1966 our late hero Maj. Gen. Jasper Adaka Boro declared the Niger Delta republic for whose sake he laid his life, till date Boro is regarded as champion of minority rights movement in Nigeria. Boro fought for a united Nigeria until he was killed during the Nigeria Civil war in May 9th 1968.

7. The Ijaws also fought for the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), as we speak, every tribe in Niger Delta is enjoying the NDDC.

8. However, the 2009 agitation of the Ijaws also gave birth to the establishment of the Niger Delta Ministry under late President Umaru Musa Yara’Adua that is now benefiting all tribes in the region.

9. In view of all these, if we are to check, in all of these, it is the Ijaw areas considering our predominantly riverine terrain are the least people to have benefitted from these Ministry and Commissions compared to our sister tribes which we are not against in any way.

10. It is at the risk of repetition that we are reiterating that while we will not banter words with our sister tribes that are suffering same issues of deprivation and neocolonization owing to our minority status in Nigeria, we are reiterating our call to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu not to make the mistake of appointing non-Ijaw as the Amnesty Programme Coordinator.

11. The Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) is not like any other Ministry or Commission like the NDDC or Niger Delta Ministry, the price the Ijaws solely paid for the establishment of the PAP is too big a price for a people to pay. The Ijaws have been magnanimous in accommodating other tribes in the Programme so far, hence we are confident that President Bola Tinubu will not do the mistake of appointing Non-Ijaw as its coordinator.

12. The Ijaw Youth Council have been keenly following political developments of the Tinubu led Federal Government and so far we are beginning to see that the government is exhibiting high level of hatred against the Ijaw people and we will not continue to keep quiet forever, we cannot continue to talk about peace when the necessary ingredients of peace such as fairness, equity and justice is not there.

13. Before our very eyes, Adokiye Tombomieye was removed from NNPCL and was replaced with someone from another tribe in Niger Delta, similar thing happened in the Local Content Development Board.

14. Few months ago, the Tinubu led Federal Government of Nigeria surreptitiously sold NIGERIAN AGIP OIL COMPANY to its crony Oando without following the normal processes. Our people are not holding any key offices in any of the MDAs.

15. Again they are trying to collaborate with the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria to sell the company to a Consortium owned by cronies of the Federal Government of Nigeria without cleaning our environment, an evil the IYC has spoken against and will follow up to the later until the Ijaws and Niger Deltans are given the rights of first refusal. Our people must be included otherwise this purported sale will not work.

16. Meanwhile, the IYC is sounding a note of warning to some elements masquerading as ethnic bigots to choose their words wisely while addressing the press. You can quietly make your points while agitating for your ethnic groups, we don’t have a problem with them but talking out of point is what the IYC is taking exception from. What has the IYC call on Tinubu to thread carefully in the PAP matter got to do with former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, INC, Tantita Security Services Nigeria Limited that some Youth leaders are talking about? The reference to the above is not in tandem and a complete deviation from the subject matter.

17. There is no connection between the Amnesty Programme and that of the Pipeline Surveillance Security Contract, maybe perhaps some people don’t have sufficient knowledge about the Surveillance contract that Tantita is not the only firm handling the Surveillance job in the Niger Delta region. There were other companies before Tantita and even now, other companies are still there Securing facilities in designated areas, so why always mentioning Tantita?. Only misinformed elements will not be aware that Tantita has perfectly done a clean job by improving the oil revenue of the federation.

18. Finally, the Ijaw Youth Council hope that this critical message from the Ijaw people gets to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and other critical stakeholders in the polity. Whilst we are committed for a peaceful and united Nigeria, the Government of the day must be fair to our people.

Amb. Binebai Yerin Princewill
Spokesman Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide.