-From the Editor’s Desk:
The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has expressed disappointment over the continued neglect of indigenes of the IJAW ethnic nationality in the President Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led administration.
The INC decried the supposedly appointment of a non- Ijaw as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority.
A statement signed by the President of IJAW NATIONAL CONGRESS (INC), Prof. Benjamin O. Okaba, asserted that “The Ijaw nation has the dominant population in five coastal states of Nigeria and contribute disproportionately to the revenue of the country.”
The statement further reads: “We are constrained by the exigencies of the recent federal political developments, especially in terms of appointments, which are skewed in favour of one ethnic nationality to make the following assertions:”
He exclaimed that the Ijaw have been left out of the present government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and have no representation in the entire executive branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria, except for only one federal Ministerial position.
“We assert that this is not acceptable to the Ijaw people who are major contributors to the Nigerian economy. The Ijaw nation has the dominant population in five coastal states of Nigeria and contribute disproportionately to the revenue of the country.
“That we the Ijaw live in and occupy no less than 65% of Nigeria’s coastal lands but have no representation in government ministries charged with the development of our region and homeland economy.
“These ministries include but not limited to the Ministries of Marine and Blue Economy and its parastatals, Transportation and its agencies, etc.
“The Ijaw people have been precluded from participating in matters of the development of their own territory even when the resources of these territories contribute immeasurably to the revenue sustaining the entire nation.”
The aggrieved INC vowed not to accept the current practice of exploitation and under-representation being served the people of Ijaw ethnic nationality.
The INC therefore, demands inclusion in the Federal Government, particularly the executive branch, and insist that Ijaw be adequately represented in policy formulation, planning and implementation of development projects and programmes in Nigeria’s marine economy and associated ministries, parastatals and agencies.
“We demand without equivocation that an Ijaw person be appointed Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority. This is because no Ijaw person has occupied that office since the establishment of organization in 1955.
“We demand representation on every board or parastatals related to the marine economy in Nigeria. We insist that Government should not be exploiting the resources of our land, seafront and territory without representatives appointed from among our people who own the territory.
“We demand immediate actions to be taken and corrections made on the issues raised above.
“We insist that the acceptance of amnesty by our people, which has drastically reduced the multifaceted and multidimensional agitations, some of which occasionally injure the national economy, should not be seen as an instrument of subjugating and cowing the Ijaw people.
“We state unequivocally that the only way to allow sleeping dogs lie is for the Federal Government to be fair, equitable and just to the Ijaw who are the real owners of the marine economy.”