Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
The Governor of Bayelsa State, Seriake Dickson, at the weekend maintained that the Ijaw people were the most oppressed in the country, lamenting that persons of Ijaw descent are only given pipelines surveillance jobs, despite their huge contribution to Nigeria’s wealth.
He advocated mass education as the effective solution to the deprivation of the Ijaws and indeed the Niger Delta people, urging parents to ensure they send their children to school.
The governor said that the Ijaw people whose environment produces the resources that have sustained the economy of the country had been deprived and shut out of the oil economy.
Dickson was speaking at the 25th Coronation Anniversary Celebration of the Paramount Ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom, King Charles Ayemi-Botu, in Okpokunou, Delta State, a statement by the governor’s Special Adviser on Media Relations,
Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said.
He said that the Niger Delta people had been reduced to the level of seeking only surveillance contracts in spite of their status as the producers of oil.
He warned those who have promulgated laws to foist oppression on the Ijaw ethnic nationality to watch out for a new generation of Ijaw children who are beneficiaries of the deliberate investments being made by his administration in education.
Dickson called on all Ijaw people in the six states to which they are indigenous to give priority to the pertinence of education as a tool for economic emancipation and development.
“I have told the world, that the country that has been oppressing our people, you have done your worst; people are deprived; rendered almost to the level of only seeking surveillance contracts and oppressed. But I have told them that with the investments we are making in education, watch out Nigeria, watch our oppressors, for Ijaw people and their children are coming.
“And I say to all of you here, those who can go to school, please go to school for there is no other way out. We are in a problem; they have impoverished us because we were not there when this country was formed and decisions were taken to our detriment .
“They don’t care whether we exist or not and I won’t get tired of talking, in office or out of office, so go to school. There are schools, a lot of schools in Bayelsa, come to Bayelsa, the scholarship provision we have made are not just for Bayelsans but for the entire Ijaw Nation so come and take advantage” he said.
He congratulated the monarch for providing effective leadership to the people of Sembiri Kingdom and for being an advocate of justice and freedom even under difficult circumstances.
The governor who led a high-powered state delegation to the kingdom said that the visit underscored the oneness in Ijaw land and an appreciation of the the monarch’s contribution to Ijaw matters.
Present at the event were the former Minister òf Police Affairs, Broderick Bozimo; Chairman, Bayelsa Elders Council, Chief Francis Doukpola; Senator Inatimi Spiff; former Chief Whip, Old Rivers State House of Assembly, Chief Thompson Okorotie.
Others were DIG Mike Zuokumor (retd); the Catholic Bishop of Bomadi Diocese, Reverend Hyacinth Egbebo; and several traditional rulers.
In his response, Ayemi-Botu commended the governor for his sustained commitment and dedication to the Ijaw cause and for making out time to be part of his silver jubilee anniversary celebration.