Youth groups in Bayelsa State have kicked against the state government’s directive banning youth bodies from charging or receiving levies from land developers, transporters or individuals in the state.
The Bayelsa State Government on Tuesday, September 6, took the decision in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Hon. Ayibaina Duba.
The statement noted that revenue collection by youth groups is unlawful and counter-productive to the prosperity agenda of the government.
It said such activities undermine government’s efforts at creating a conducive investment climate and the promotion of sustainable economic activities in the state.
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Hence, the government ordered youth bodies/associations, especially the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) to desist from collecting any kind of levy as the government will no longer tolerate such.
The statement reads in part: “By this announcement, youth bodies/associations, especially the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), which is the umbrella youth body in the state, are hereby advised to desist forthwith from collection of fee or levy by whatever name it may be called. Government will not tolerate further infringements”.
Reacting to the ban, the Epie-Atissa Youth Council Worldwide and the Epie-Atissa Youth Presidents Forum faulted the government’s decision, describing it as targeted at silencing them, especially those in the state capital.
In a joint statement signed by the Epie-Atissa Youth President, Comrade Inatimi Timothy, and Chairman, Epie-Atissa Youth Presidents Forum, Comrade Ishi Collins said they found the decision as hasty and lacking adequate consultation with various youth bodies.
According to the Joint Council, after careful examination of the decision, they found it as a strategy to silence the youth bodies, especially those of Epie-Atissa who are divinely housing the state capital.
They therefore called on the youth bodies of Epie-Atissa to go about their ancenstral, cultural and lawful duties as they have always done.
They agreed to support and continue to work with the state government to maintain peace and security in their various communities, thereby encouraging development.