The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta have given the Federal Government a one-month deadline to re-establish a functional board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) or face the region’s complete shutdown.
Timothy Igbifa, the National President of the Ijaw Youths Council Worldwide, said in an interview in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, that if the group does not receive a positive response from the Federal Government, the group would shut down oil production and the entire region.
Igbifa, who presided over an enlarged meeting of stakeholders and ethnic nationality leaders in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, over the weekend, emphasised the need for the NDDC to form a substantive board, among five other demands.
He blamed the rise in armed attacks and killings in some parts of the country on the federal government’s failure to resolve the root causes of regional agitation.
The IYC President, who was in Yenagoa for the 34th birthday celebration of Ebilade Ekerefe, the IYC’s National Spokesman, charged President Muhammadu Buhari to resolve the region’s agitations.
“Mr. President, in order to address rising instability in certain parts of the world, you should not encourage the regions to agitate for anything they deserve. In the NDDC, the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), and other federal sectors in the country, the president should take action.
“To stop crises and other problems, President Buhari should be constructive and timely. The Niger Delta region is stable, and we are optimistic that things will continue to improve if the President keeps the momentum going by doing the right thing in the region,” he said.
“The IYC gave the Federal Government and President Buhari one month notice in its executive and stakeholders meeting in Port Harcourt yesterday,” he said.
“It is expected that Mr. President will take action within a month and inaugurate the NDDC board, after which we will see how the commission will no longer work properly.
“We will take action if there is no constructive response. If Mr. President does not function within the time frame we have given him, we will shut down the entire country. There will be no half-measures.”
Udengs Eradiri, Special Assistant on Youth Matters to the Interim Administrator of the NDDC, appealed for calm in response to the IYC ultimatum.
President Buhari, Godswill Akpabio, and the Interim Sole Administration of the NDDC, Effiong Akwa, pleaded with the party to exercise restraint and allow President Buhari, Godswill Akpabio, and the Interim Sole Administration of the NDDC, Effiong Akwa, to address the commission’s challenges.