President Goodluck Jonathan
By Sunday Okobi
Ijaw people in the United Kingdom under the auspices of Ijaw Legacy Group (IJG) Thursday expressed concern over the reports making the rounds that Bayelsa State Government, with the support of President Goodluck Jonathan, wants to annex some parts of Rivers State.
The group, in a statement signed by its President, Columbus Peterside, Thursday, said as a group aimed at strengthening the position of the Ijaw nation globally and with a clear mandate to promote its agenda in all ramifications, “we feel disturbed and deeply concerned by this development.
“Our main concern stems from the fact that some of our own people are allowing themselves to be used by a faceless cabal that is bent on destabilising the government of President Goodluck Jonathan. The situation, if unchecked, does portend far reaching implications, especially in undermining the fragile peace currently prevailing in the Niger Delta today.”
While commending the prompt response of the Bayelsa State government, in the defence of President Jonathan, Peterside decried the fallout of the allegation where some chiefs and elders of Kalabari clan allegedly led by Chief Graham Douglas protested in Abuja.
He said: “It was totally uncalled for and as respected leaders Ijaw leaders, it is expected that they should have known better. Their action, if nothing else, amounted to further inflaming the already needless strife and friction existing within the Izon nation.
“Chief Graham Douglas and his fellow chiefs ought to have known that the issue at hand goes beyond just appealing to public sympathy and sentiments. They are strictly legal issues that the courts in its wisdom have since dealt with.”
The statement explained that the Rivers State government took Bayelsa State Government to the Federal High Court on the issue and lost. Instead of appealing the matter in the Appeal Court, the Rivers State Government invoked the constitutional provision and filed a suit in the Supreme Court in 2011 and this year the Supreme Court upheld Bayelsa State position.
“We therefore seize this opportunity to call on the chiefs and elders of Kalabari clan and the Rivers State Government to desist from further making any comments or attempt to take any action with respect to the subject matter on ground, in interest of the region and the Ijaw race,” the group appealed.