By Oluwayemi Davidson, Warri
Possible implosion is looming in the Niger Delta region, Ijaw youths from the various States in the region have warned.
Giving the warning in Warri, Delta State on Monday, the Ijaw youths under the umbrella body of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) called on President Muhammadu Buhari to Buhari to, without further delay, release the seized properties and funds as well as evacuate the company premises of the renowned Ijaw freedom fighter and former General Officer Commanding (GOC) the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), High Chief Government Ekpemukpolo popularly known as Tompolo.
They warned the Federal Government over possible implosion in Niger Delta should the authorities continue to treat Tompolo as an outcast.
The Ijaw youths who had converged on Warri to celebrate the 50 years birthday of Tompolo urged Buhari to return his seized assets as a token of his golden jubilee birthday gift.saying it is disrespectful of court orders and disregard to the rule of law for the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), to continually seize and hold down Tompolo’s funds and properties when he has been vindicated and declared free by the Federal High Court in Lagos since 2020.
Also, the Ijaw youths warned the Federal Government against continuous negligence of the Niger Delta region maintaining that the silence of the youths in the region may lead to possible implosion and renewed agitation.
According to them, Tompolo as a freedom fighter has made indelible marks in the struggle for the advancement of the Niger Delta region at great risk to his life and family.
Addressing the gathering, the President of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Mr. Peter Timothy Igbifa remarked that the subsisting peace in the Niger Delta region was as an aftermath of the concerted efforts by stakeholders including Tompolo who had been prevailing on agitated youths to change the narratives for the region.
“If not for the steps stakeholders of the region have taken to maintain peace, security and stability, the Niger Delta would have imploded and bled the economy of the country by now. We are gradually getting to that crescendo level if steps are not urgently taken to address the demands of the people by the Federal Government. The ominous signs are already there and as IYC, we have forewarned and pointed it out clearly. If for any reason the Niger Delta implodes, we reiterate that the Federal Government and the IOC’s should be held responsible”, he stated.
The IYC President likened Tompolo to other great leaders from the Niger Delta region including the late Major Jasper Adaka Boro, Harold Dappa-Biriye, Ken Saro Wiwa, stressing that “continued neglect of the region as manifested under Buhari administration may spark off the emergence of many other Tompolos to tackle the negligence of the Federal Government”.
In calling on Buhari to release without further hesitation, the properties and valuables of High Chief Government Ekpemukpolo seized by the Federal Government, the Ijaw youths affirmed that “Tompolo is a symbol of freedom and a respected role model to many youths in the region”.
He said, “Equally, High Chief Ekpemupolo stood against the neglect of the region and against the federal government decision to play with issues of the Niger Delta region and the East-West road that is still wallowing in a very deplorable state. For us in the Niger Delta, the country can only make meaningful progress when restructuring reflect true Federalism; to give way for individual regions to control their proceeds and make remissions to the Federal.
“We also use this opportunity to call on the Federal Government to order that the Bill on Nigerian maritime University, which up till date is still lying there with the National Assembly, should be forwarded to the President for his assent. We call on the NIMASSA boss to move her floating Dock from Lagos to its original settlement in Okrenkoko, Delta state. The relocation of the NIMASSA Dock will go a long way to absorb our teeming unemployed youths in the region”.