Trouble seem to be looming in Delta State as the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Western Zone, comprising all Ijaw Youths in Delta, Edo and Ondo states have collectively issued a seven (7) days ultimatum to the management and entire leadership of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC ) to address certain issues urgently or face total shutdown of all activities in the commission.
This was contained in a communique signed by the Chairman Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Western Zone, Dr. Comr. Doubra Collins Okotete, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspapers Worldwide earlier today.
The communique which majorly centered around the alleged inimical conducts of Dr. Paul Bebenimibo, Commissioner Representing Ijaw Ethnic Nationality on the Board of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) had called on Dr. Paul to retrace his steps before it is too late.
The Western Zone IYC had vowed that unless meaningful discussion takes place within this period that will be aimed at addressing all their demands, the group will not hesitate to totally shutdown DESOPADEC main office in Warri when the ultimatum finally expires.
However, the group had called on Dr. Paul Bebenimibo to step aside from the office for other Ijaw sons and daughters of Ijaw in Gbaramatu Kingdom or any other Ijaw son to take over the office, stressing that his activities have been against the interest of the Ijaws since he assumes office.
The communique reads in full below:
A COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF AN EMERGENCY STAKEHOLDERS MEETING OF THE IJAW YOUTH COUNCIL (IYC) WESTERN ZONE.
~~IYC GIVES DESOPADEC 7 DAYS ULTIMATUM STARTING FROM MONDAY 18TH OCTOBER, 2021.
Arising from a critical Stakeholders meeting of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Western Zone comprising of National Officers of IYC from the Zone, Zonal Officers of IYC, Clan Chairmen of IYC in the Zone, Clan Women Leaders of IYC in the Zone, Former National and Zonal leaders, Organizations registered under IYC and other stakeholders and leaders of IYC, the following decisions were reached:
1. The Ijaw Youth Council Western Zone frowns dispassionately at the high handedness of Hon. Paul Bebenimibo( Phd) the Commissioner Representing Ijaw Ethnic Nationality in the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Commission (DESOPADEC) and the detached manner with which he runs this office that is supposed to be a connecting point for the grassroots.
2. The Ijaw Youth Council was propelled to call this emergency meeting because all possible avenues to interface with Hon. Paul Bebenimibo as a former Executive Member of IYC in this same Zone, to see how areas of misunderstanding can be settled has been turned down by him including third party mediation. He sees himself as a god and as such has refused to give listening ear to all strata of leadership in the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality he represent and our option for peace and dialogue over time are evidenced based and seen as a weakness.
3. The Ijaw Youth Council is well aware that every ethnic youth bodies are working closely with their representative for the collective growth and development of their region and are also receiving monthly subvention from DESOPADEC as part of DESOPADEC’s commitment to youth development except the IYC because Hon. Paul Bebenimibo has ordered it to be so, apparently in an attempt to divert such funds.
4. The way and manner Hon. Paul Bebenimibo is running his office is at opposite direction with the SMART Agenda of Governor Okowa which prioritizes youth development.
5. The Ijaw Youth Council Western Zone wish to unequivocally state that we have endured Hon. Paul Bebenimibo’s indifference to us and we will henceforth no longer allow him to shortchange us.
6. We also condemn in strong terms, the physical harm and grievous bodily injury done to the Youth President of Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom by Policemen attached to Hon. Paul Bebenimibo and at his behest, leaving the victim hospitalized currently in an undisclosed hospital. This is both inhuman and tyrannical and can never be accepted by the IYC.
7. The Ijaw Youth Council Western Zone had also received several complaints from individual (Ijaw) traditional rulers over Paul Bebenimibo’s disrespect for our traditional institutions and his refusal to meet with the Ijaw Traditional Rulers Council when invited and council will not tolerate such disrespect for our revered traditional institutions.
8. Consequently, we demand as follow;
i. We humbly call on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to look into the said brutal treatment done to the Youth President of Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom by his appointee Hon. Paul Bebenimibo who is now using state apparatus to oppress the weak. We know the Governor as a man of integrity who detests such oppression as evidenced in the immediate sacking of his former Aide Mr. Friday Eluro who assaulted a Woman. Our call is further reinforced by the Governor’s stance against police brutality during the ENDSARS protest.
ii. Hon. Paul Bebenimibo should tender a public and unreserved apology to the Youth President of Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom and the entire Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom and pay compensation for the hospital bills and injuries suffered by the Youth President.
iii. Henceforth all monthly subventions be paid to our sister youth organisations should also be paid to us as we are not the second fiddle, especially as records shows that Ijaws are the second largest oil producing people in Delta State.
iv. Hon. Paul Bebenimibo is not the first Ijaw son to hold this office and so if he is unwilling to attend to issues of Ijaw Nation that falls within the purview of his Office as DESOPADEC Commissioner Representing Ijaw Ethnic Nationality, then we respectfully advise that he resign forthwith and concentrate on his lecturing which he has never hesitated to tell anyone that cares to listen that he values more than his appointment as DESOPADEC Commissioner, so that other well meaning Ijaw Son either from Gbaramatu or any other clan can step in to deliver the mandate of the office.
9. Conclusively, we give the Commission a 7 days ultimatum starting from Monday 18th October, 2021 to wade into this issue and ensure that our demands are met, as the Ijaw Youth Council should not be blamed for the total close down of the Commission, Paul Bebenimibo’s office complex and even the sources by which resources accrue to the Commission, unless our demands are met.
Signed Dr. Comr. Doubra Collins Okotete Chairman Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Western Zone.