Published On: Tue, Oct 25th, 2016

COMMUNIQUÉ OF THE IJAW NATIONAL CONGRESS (INC) STAKEHOLDERS SUMMIT ON THE THEME “THE ROLE OF ETHNIC NATIONALITIES IN NATIONAL SECURITY, UNITY, PEACE AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: THE IJAWS IN NIGERIA”HELD AT BB HOTELS AND EVENT CENTRE, NO. 32-34 DECO ROAD, WARRI, DELTA STATE ON WEDNESDAY 23RD, DECEMBER 2015.

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Preamble:

More than 2,500 Ijaw men, women and youth drawn from 78 Ijaw clans, traditional institutions, professional and socio-political bodies amongst others, gathered under the aegis of the Ijaw apex socio-cultural organisation, the Ijaw National Congress (INC) in Warri, Delta State on Wednesday 23rd of December 2015, to examine the state of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality and lay down a viable path to the realisation of our collective aspiration.

The event hosted by the INC was chaired by the President of Congress Barrister Boma Obuoforibo and attended by Professor Christopher Dime, INC Founding President, Alaowei Broderick Bozimo(former Police Affairs Minister who also doubled as representative of Senator(Dr) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, OFR, CON, Chairman INC Board of Trustees as Father of the Day), Chief J M Aseh, Ambassador (Chief) John Tams Aminas, Ambassador(Chief) Sunday Egbiri Ala, His Royal Highness Chief(Dr) D E Tobin West, Chief (Hon.) Okpanbeni Johnny, Dr. Nat Bunuju, Pastor Power Aginighan (INC Founding Secretary) and other notable Ijaw sons and daughters.

The Summit with the theme, “The role of ethnic nationalities in national security, unity, peace and sustainable development: The Ijaws in Nigeria.” witnessed robust deliberations which flowed from papers presented by notable Ijaw scholars and other resource persons. The keynote address was delivered by Alaowei Broderick Bozimo.Participants at the Summit delved deep into several internal and national issues, making the following observations and resolutions:

  1. The Summit noted and expressed profound appreciation to the Ijaws of Bayelsa State and other Nigerians for their determination to preserve the principle of free and fair elections in our constitutional democracy, as was demonstrated in the Bayelsa Gubernatorial Elections and urged the Federal Government and INEC to adhere strictly to the Constitution and the guidelines for the election in the interest of National Security, Peace and Unity.
  2. The Summit prayed for the continued peace and progress of the Nation and urged the Federal Government to adopt dialogue as a tool in resolving the various conflicts in the Nation.
  3. The Summit noted with regret, that successive administrations in Nigeria have proved unwilling to accede to the demand by the Ijaws to be united in homogeneous political entities of their own and demand the creation of two homogeneous Ijaw States, namely Toru-Ebe State and Oil Rivers State.
  4. The Summit reaffirms that Nigeria is made up of diverse ethnic nationalities with varying histories, motivations and aspirations. Therefore, these ethnic nationalities should form the basis of a true Nigerian federation.
  5. Conscious of the fact that the environment remains the most valuable physical resource for development and survival of the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality, the Summit noted that the Ijaw oil and gas bearing communities suffer the deleterious effects of oil and gas exploration and exploitation, but regrets the inability of the Nigerian State to address the concomitant negative impact on the health, livelihood, economy, culture and environment of the Ijaw people. This reality is leading to the gradual extinction of the Ijaw people. While commending the commencement of the implementation of the UNEP report on Ogoni Land, Summit urge the Federal Government to urgently embark upon the environmental audit and remediation of all oil and gas-impacted Ijaw communities as well as other Niger Delta communities.
  6. Dissatisfied with the present constitutional and legislative arrangements for resource control and allocation in Nigeria, the Summit observed that in all true federations and other civilized states, the communities that bear natural resources control these resources and only pay taxes to the central government and call for the restructuring of Nigeria on the basis of true federalism.
  7. Aware of the fact that violence or restiveness is a new phenomenon foisted on Ijaw people by circumstances of oppression and frustrations, the Summit made the observation that continued militarisation of Ijaw territory has resulted in severe erosion of our cherished values as a people and demand immediate demilitarisation. Summit calls for reconstruction and rehabilitation of Ayakoromo, Ogodobri, Diebiri, Okerenkoko, Odioma, Bille and other Ijaw communities that were destroyed by Nigerian soldiers.
  8. The Summit frowns at the attempt by interest groups’ in Delta State to stifle the development of the Delta State School of Marine Technology, Burutu through the siting of other campuses and call on the Delta State Governor to upgrade the facilities at Burutu to meet the NBTE standard and make the institution viable.
  9. Summit notes the unspeakable infrastructure deficit in the Ijaw territory of Nigeria in spite of the over five (5) decades of uninterrupted oil and gas exploration and exploitation activities and call on the Federal and State Governments (AkwaIbom, Rivers, Delta, Edo and Ondo State) to embark on projects that will integrate the Ijaw Nation into the mainstream of national development and position us for Nigeria beyond oil. Summit specifically calls on the Federal Government to resuscitate all abandoned projects in the Ijaw Territory particularly the Burutu Port and Dockyard in Delta State and fast-track the construction of the Gelegele Sea Port in Edo State.
  10. The summit resolved that the Ijaw Nation is not opposed to the war against corruption in so far as it is not selective and executed within the ambit of the rule of law. Mr. President should resist the temptation to use this war as a means of victimising perceived political enemies of Ijaw extraction.
  11. The Summit notes that the Nigeria Maritime University Okerenkoko facilitated by the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) was duly approved by the Federal Executive Council having satisfied the requirements of the National Universities Commission. This University with a temporary site at Kurutie in the Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State is the only legacy project of the Federal Government in the oil- rich but environmentally degraded Delta Ijaw territory.

The Summit observes that the idea of siting a tertiary educational institution in Gbaramatu Kingdom of Delta State was first mooted under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo as a critical component of the roadmap to security, peace and sustainable development of the Niger Delta.

The Summit expresses delight in the inauguration of a Governing Council and appointment of Vice Chancellor and other Principal Officers of the University and approval of take-off fund in NIMASA 2015 Appropriation Act passed by the National Assembly and calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to order the immediate commencement of academic activities in the University.

The Summit notes that the various pronouncements by some employees of Mr. President against the take-off of the University are capable of igniting another round of crisis in the Niger Delta.

  1. The Summit salutes Mr. President for keeping faith with his pledge during his inauguration on May 29 2015 to address the challenges of the Niger Delta. The Summit commends Mr. President for the timely appointment of a disciplined and respected Niger Delta Son Brig. Gen. P T. Boroh as S A/Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. We note that the disarmament and demobilisation phases were implemented with the surrender of arms and ammunition by the erstwhile agitators. Congress observe that a lot more still remains to be done in the strategic rehabilitation and re-integration phase, summit calls on president Muhammadu Buhari to adequately fund the implementation of the programme to its logical conclusion.
  2. The Summit commends the choice of Mrs. Ibim Seminitari as Acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as she has the capacity to re-position the interventionist agency for better service delivery. The Summit calls on Mr. President to comply with the funding provisions of the NDDC Act and order the immediate release of all the outstanding Federal Government contributions to the Commission. The Summit further calls on Mr. President to recruit only men and women of integrity into the next Governing Board and Management of the NDDC and other Federal Government Agencies to improve service delivery.

Summit reiterate the view that the Ijaw people are peace loving and committed to the unity of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and prepared to collaborate with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari in ensuring National Unity, Peace, Security and Sustainable Development of the Niger Delta-Ijaw people.

Summit directed the National Executive Council (NEC)of Congress to immediately contact and collaborate with the United Nation, United State of America (USA), United Kingdom (UK), European Union (EU), Russia, China and other International development partners on areas of mutual interest.

Delegates from the 78 Ijaw clans passed a vote of confidence on the President of Congress Barr. Boma Obuoforibo and the National Executive Council under his leadership for effectively piloting the affairs of the Ijaw Nation in a difficult time and urges every Ijaw irrespective of political leanings to rally round the INC.

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