Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) TuesdayÂ vowed that it would use whatever means, even bombing of oil facilities, to frustrate the operations of licensed modular refinery operators in the region if the federal government fails to review the licensing process and give 70 per cent ownership of the refineries to people from the Niger Delta region.
The factional President of the IYC (Worldwide), Oweilaemi Pereotubo, who gave the warning at a press conference in Warri, also said the Ijaw nationâ€™s support for the call for the restructuring of the Nigerian federation only meant the call for resource control and fiscal federalism.
The Ijaw youth body also gave a 90-day ultimatum, starting from July 12, 2017, to all multinational companies with field operations in the Niger Delta, but headquartered outside the region, to relocate their headquarters back to the region where their primary field activities are located, or face dire consequences.
Pereotubo noted that the decision of multinationals to take the headquarters of their businesses to other places, especially Lagos State had robbed the people of the Niger Delta of their due benefits and growth, but had on the other hand nourished Lagos.
â€œAfter series of meetings, the IYC has resolved that as long as the Ijaw nation remains part of Nigeria, the oil companies must comply with the presidential order by relocating their headquarters to their operational bases in the Niger Delta within 90 days (three months), beginning from July 12, 2017. We do not wish to reiterate that the failure to heed this ultimatum will have dire consequences.
â€œOver the years, monies that were supposed to accrue to the Niger Delta states and their people have been paid to Lagos State, thereby boosting their Internally Generated Revenue (IGR). Relocating the headquarters will not only boost the revenue base of the Niger Delta states, it will also bring about employment opportunities, thereby reducing youths restiveness in the region,â€ he said.
On the threat to frustrate operations of modular refineries if the current arrangement is continued, Pereotubo, who said the 56 licences had been issued to non-Niger Delta private investors, demanded that the conditions for obtaining the license be relaxed so that it could be affordable for indigenous Niger Delta people.
â€œThe IYC was shocked to the marrows after discovering the fact that not a single one of the beneficiaries is a Niger Deltan, not to talk of being Ijaw. We will take our destinies in our hands to stop those companies from operating in our territories and we will do this by any means possible, including paying the supreme price to liberate our people from the hands of our oppressors.
â€œWe will invoke the Ijaw gods of war to go before us and we will triumph over evil. We have no fear and we have no doubt. No gunboats will stop us, not even fighter jets. The only panacea is when we, the Ijaw in particular and Niger Deltans in general are given 70 per cent ownership of the modular refineries. This should be accompanied with a review of the conditions for the award of licenses,â€ he said.
On the call for restructuring/resource control, the IYC leader said â€œthe IYC is in league with those who advocate dialogue. We must sit down and discuss the problems/issues that affect us as component parts of this country, Nigeria. To evade discussion is to invite the inevitable and we all know the consequences. Rwanda will be a childâ€™s play because Nigeria will witness a macabre dance she has never experienced in all of her 57 years of nationhood,â€ he added.