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Protests rock Delta, Bayelsa as Ijaw Youths accuse FG of state sponsored abduction of IYC President

There were pockets of protest in three states of Delta and Bayelsa over the Tuesday abduction of the National President of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide, Deacon Timothy Igbifa and the expiration of the 30days ultimatum handed President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute the substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

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The pocket of protests, staged by angry ijaw youths in front of NDDC state offices along the Edjeba area of Warri in Delta State, the NDDC office in Yenezue-gene area of Yenagoa in Bayelsa, distrusted vehicular movement and business activities for hours.

The protesting Ijaw Youths, who were relatively peaceful and  armed with placards with inscription such as “Restructure Nigeria Now!”, IOCs must not remmitt N1.6billion dollars to NDDC Now!”,” We seek Justice in NDDC,Now!” and ‘”FG should appoint substantive board in NDDC now”, accused President Muhammadu Buhari of allege state sponsored abduction of their President, Deacon Timothy Igbifa.

They warned that the next protest on the issues of the appointment of substantive board for the NDDC, the tenure of the Sole Administrator and other issues of the development of the region will be total and a “Mass Action”.

The National Leadership of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) in a statement issued via email to newsmen in Yenagoa, declared solidarity for the protesters and urged them not to allow criminally sponsored elements to infiltrate their midst while the protest last in Bayelsa and Delta states.

The IYC Leadership in a communique issued at the end of an emergency meeting and signed by Savior Olali,Deputy President, Ebilade Ekerefe, National spokesman, Timilaemi Ebifoubo, National Treasurer,. Tina Tubusi, Woman leader, Abiye Achepaka, National Financial Secretary,Fubara Isreal, National Director of Mobilization, Otiene Amafina, Assistant Secretary General,Digitemie Pogonyo, Speaker of Mobile Parliament and the Chairmen of Zones and Chapters of the Council, alleged that abduction of President Timothy Igbifa was sponsored by President Muhammadu Buhari..

According to the statement,” Though the abduction of the IYC President, Deacon Timothy Igbifa, came to us as a shock and provocative, we have since discovered that the Federal Government, under President Muhammadu Buhari, sponsored and executed the abduction. First, he was invited, along with other National Executive members, to Abuja for a robust engagement meeting with the Interim Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Col. Milland Dixion Dikio (rtd). Then, he was abducted by men armed with standard “IWI Tavor rifles” or “the Uzi sub-machine gun”.

“Despite our shock, the National Executive of the IYC wants to express solidarity with the pockets of protest in some parts of the region in line with the expiration of the 30days ultimatum handed the Federal Government, and the provocative abduction of the President, Deacon Igbifa. While in support and solidarity with genuine protest by Ijaw Youths in most parts of the region, they should not allow hoodlums or criminal elements serially used to thwart similar protest in Lagos and Kaduna to infiltrate their midst and hijack the protests”.

“The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) also condemn, in strongest terms, the unwarranted abduction of the President, Deacon Igbifa and call on the Federal Government to release him unconditionally. Due to the sudden abduction, the Ijaw Youths Council leadership have abruptly terminate the ongoing engagement between the IYC and the Interim Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. We are returning back to the region to have robust engagement with key stakeholders including the Clans, Zones and chapters on the strategy and rule of engagement forthwith”.

“These robust engagement will metamorphose into a National Convention slated for Sunday 30th of May, 2019 where a clear cut strategy will be initiated in line with the planned Mass Action. As a Council, we will not betray the trust reposed in us as National Leaders of the IYC. The National Leaders of the Council is resolute that despite the expiration of the 30 days ultimatum handed President Muhammadu Buhari at midnight on Tuesday, the Ijaw Youths will not be cowed from insisting that a substantive board of NDDC be immediately constituted.”

“While we put the various security agencies in the country on red alert in order to secure the unconditional release of the President of Council, Deacon Timothy Igbifa, the Ijaw Youths worldwide should remain calm, and not allow emotions and divisive elements to drag then back from achieving our goal of ensuring peace, equity and fair development for the region”.

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