Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), the umbrella body of all youths of Ijaw descent, on Sunday in Yenagoa alleged that the recent arrest of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s cousin, Robert Azibola, was an indication that the federal government would soon come after the former leader.
However, the IYC led by Mr Udengs Eradiri, vowed that the youths in of the region would resist any attempt to persecute Jonathan, noting that it would mark the beginning of trouble for the federal government.
According to Eradiri, the IYC president, that many people who have a close relationship with the former president had been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) was enough evidence of the federal government’s plan.
He added that the region was still angry over the way the late Diepreye Alamieyeseigha, former Governor of Bayelsa State was maltreated, noting that the youths would not allow any future humiliation of people from the area.
“They have arrested almost all our people. Azibola was arrested by the EFCC and we are calling on the EFCC to stop persecuting him further and charge him to court if there are issues.
“They detained him for a long time forcing him to make statements to indict former President Jonathan. Azibola was a businessman, contractor and has the right like every Nigerian to get contracts. Why will the Niger Delta case be a different one?”
He continued: “We noticed that the same way they persecuted Alamieyeseigha, they want to continue with Jonathan. Our people who contributed in that administration are being persecuted by this government.
“The recent one is the ploy to arrest Jonathan which is unfolding every day. This must stop. Jonathan was the most performing president that Nigeria has ever had. We are proud of him.
“Every day, there is a calculated attempt to whittle down the achievements of Jonathan. We call on Nigerians to mount pressure on the government to focus on leading Nigeria right rather than looking for ways to bring down the achievements of Jonathan.
“Buhari should please focus on governance rather than persecution of people who have added value. We are not happy about it and today we use Alamieyeseigha’s death as a point of contact. The world has seen that from Alamieyeseigha it has trickled down to all the Niger Delta people.”
While answering questions on the alleged removal of 10 per cent community equity from the new Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), Eradiri said the youths would neither beg nor lobby for what is rightfully theirs.
He said: “For us we will not beg for it. We will not even lobby anybody. The oil is our oil and we will take it. If they like, they should put it if they don’t like they should leave it. We expect that this country should have commonsense by including community participation.
“This 10 per cent would have covered for pipeline surveillance. Once the people know that they have 10 per cent in this business, they will protect it.’’