Dickson tasks youths on economic marginalisation, environmental pollution of Niger Delta
Bayelsa Stare Governor, Seriake Dickson, has called on the leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) to lead advocacy to end economic marginalization and environmental pollution in the Niger Delta region.
The governor gave the advice in Yenagoa during a call on him by the group.
He also advised the youth group to collaborate with the state government in addressing the age-long problems of under-development of the Ijaw nation by successive administrations at the federal level.
Led by its national President, Roland Oweilaemi, the governor urged them to sensitize the youths of the region against cultism, drug abuse and other related negative vices.
He expressed dismay over the state of the region in spite of its huge contributions to the economic growth of the country and called on political leaders to protect the collective interest of the Ijaws.
While noting that the people of the Niger Delta have been neglected and oppressed for too long, he called for a change of tactics and strategy, stressing that the struggle to emancipate the Ijaw nation is not all about carrying weapons, but through intellectual and persuasive means.
"The Ijaw nation is oppressed in Nigeria, and those of us in position should fight and protect the Ijaw interest. "The weapons and strategy for the struggle must change. For 60 years, there is no road to Bonny and Brass, where crude oil is lifted daily.
"No airport in the Ijaw nation, no oil company operating in the state pays taxes to contribute to the economy. "The IYC must continue to raise the legitimate issues without fear of intimidation. I expect you to mobilise and raise the consciousness of the people about the precarious situation we are in," Dickson said.
He explained that his administration has raised the Ijaw banner in terms of building educational facilities to develop business leaders and educational giants.
Dickson noted that it was regrettable that after 20 years of the creation of Bayelsa State there were no boarding schools and functional hospitals, until his administration came and changed the narrative.
In his remarks, President of the IYC extolled the leadership qualities of Governor Dickson, stressing that he has given the Ijaw nation a sense of direction, purpose and a respectable identity in the comity of ethnic nationalities..
He called on the Federal Government to allow the people of the region to establish and manage the proposed modular refineries in the region, adding that it is one of the ways by which the people will be compensated and be given a greater sense of belonging.
Oweilaemi also restated the ninety day ultimatum issued by the IYC to all oil companies operating in the Niger Delta to relocate their corporate headquarters to the region, in line with the directive of the Vice President, Prof. Yomi Osinbajo.