The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), has declared President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, as persona non grata in the Niger Delta region.
The youths say their position is based on the ignoble role they played in the passage and signing of the Petroleum Industry Bill into law, despite the wide condemnation that greeted the bill from Nigerians.
Although they conceded that the duo of Buhari and Sylva have the constitutional rights to move to any parts of the country, the youths insisted that “their movement into the six states of the Niger Delta will be welcome with boos and disgraceful jeers due to their show of disregard to the plights and cry of the people of the region over the years”.
National Spokesman of the IYC, Comrade Ebilade Ekerefe, said as the umbrella body of all Ijaw youths in the world, it has in very strong terms rejected the controversial law because it was tantamount to “a total affront to the outcry of the people of the region against the three percent provision for the oil producing communities”.
Ekerefe, explained that the decision not to welcome Buhari and Sylva to the region was “a further show of disdain to their drop in the ratings of the Niger Delta people and should not expect any accolades and congratulatory messages from the region”.
The IYC spokesman said in a statement: “With the amount of speed the President used in signing the PIB without recourse to the stem stand by stakeholders from the region, the President has further demonstrated that the opinions of the Niger Delta people don’t matter in his government as we’ve witnessed in other areas that requires urgent attention of his government”.
The statement further said 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 three percent equity share to host communities, whose environments he insisted had suffered decades of oil exploration activities by the oil companies.
It described as an after thought an explanation offered by Sylva on the three percent, saying that what the minister should have done, as a son of the soil, was to apologise and appeal to the conscience of the people, rather than justify an act which is politically tailored to favour the North and its allies in the industry.