Ijaw Youths declare Buhari, Sylva 'persona non grata'

Buhari-and-Sylva

Buhari and Timpre Sylva: declared persona non grata in Niger Delta

By Jethro Ibileke

In new flash of trouble in Niger Delta, Ijaw youths from the six states of the region have declared President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, persona non grata in the region.

It was their response to the enactment of the Petroleum Industry Act a few days ago.

The Ijaw youths said the two leaders have ignored the plight of the people over the years, a development they said has heightened the rising tension and anger in the region.

The Ijaw youths under the aegis of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide, said although President Buhari and Mr. Sylva have the constitutional rights to move to any part of the country, their movement into the six states of the Niger Delta will be welcome with boos and jeers.

The IYC on Tuesday rejected the new law, which President Buhari and Sylva, along with NNPC GMD, Mele Kyari have celebrated a game changer in the oil industry.

But IYC said the law is a total affront to the position of the Niger Delta region, which opposed the three per cent provision for the oil producing communities.

The IYC in a statement issued in Yenagoa by its national spokesman, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, said the decision not to welcome Buhari and Sylva to the region is a further show of disdain to their drop in the ratings of the Niger Delta people and so, should not expect any accolades and congratulatory messages from the region.

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Ekerefe noted that the best course of action to have been taken by the President was to send the Bill back to the National Assembly for upward review of the 3 per cent equity share to host communities whose environments had suffered decades of oil exploration activities by the oil companies.

“Therefore, a substantial percentage to the HOSTCOM would’ve helped to address this age-long criminality. Until that is done, there’s nothing to celebrate,” he said.

IYC further described the explanation offered by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva on the 3%, as an afterthought.

“What the Minister should’ve done as an illustrious son of the soil was to apologize and appeal to the conscience of our people, rather than justifying an act which is politically tailored to favor the north and its allies in the industry.

“It is a rape to justice and equity for the National Assembly to pass 3% equity share to the host communities while passing 30% to frontier basins which in our view is grossly inadequate and it is against the unanimous 10% agreement by stakeholders for Hostcom when the National Assembly visited the region.

“In the light of the forgoing, there’s no better time for the people of the Niger Delta region to intensify the struggle for resource control and self-determination.

“We believe strongly that it will be the only sure path upon which our God giving natural resources can be managed by us, and not this impunity we’ve witnessed from a repressive federal government under President Muhammadu Buhari,” the statement concluded.