Isoko National Youth Assembly (INYA) Worldwide has explained the rationale behind the protest in which they barricaded the Isoko-kwale-Asaba expressway on Monday, saying that their main target is to prod the state and federal government toward plight of Isoko nation and her youths.
BigPen Online recalls that the youths at early hours of yesterday had cause serious gridlock on the Aradhe section of the deplorable Isoko-kwale-Asaba expressway which has become a serious embarrassment to the state government.
In a statement by Secretary General of INYA, Comrade Amos Ogbokor made available to BigPen Online, the group said the protest was part of its struggle to emancipate the Isoko youths in particular and the Isoko people in general from abject poverty and backwardness.
It read in parts; “Precisely, on the 11th of Dec. 2017, the Youths of Isoko Nation under the auspices of Isoko National Youth Assembly Worldwide humbly led by Comr. Umuakpo Ovie carried out a peaceful protest along the popular Isoko-kwale-Asaba expressway to register their grievances about the insensitivity of the State and Federal government towards the Isoko youths in particular and the Isoko nation in general.
“We protested to tell the State and the Federal government that we are not conquered people but rather we are a nation with radical intellectual people that will no longer accept any ill treatment of our people.
“The state and the federal government over the years remain adamant to the plight of the Isoko people and we have come to say enough is enough.
“The Isoko nation is the largest producer of onshore crude oil in Nigeria. During the peak of the activities of the Niger Delta Avengers that led to the destruction of oil facilities in the creeks of the Niger delta, the Isoko onshore crude production was the one sustaining our dear country.
“So why then the Isoko people get something in returns? This we have considered and we have resolved that it will no longer be business as usual going forward.
‘Our demands are simple and no right thinking individual will ever condemn what happened yesterday for even the Army and the policemen present yesterday commended and salute our courage and peaceful disposition in the manner in which the protest was organised.
“The passengers who were on the road as a result of the gridlock caused by the protest also identified with us by showing solidarity and cooperation.
The group however disclosed that its protest was archored on four (4) key issues as they affect the Isoko nation;
1. The Exclusion of the Isoko youths from the non-violent phase of the Federal government Amnesty programme.
2. The reduction of the Isoko section of the busy Isoko-kwale-Asaba expressway to a single lane while other section is a dual carriageway.
3. The non-challant attitude of the multinationals operating in our land towards their corporate social responsibility to our various communities.
4. The continuous hijack of the DESOPADEC social security votes to the Isoko Youths by certain individuals who are lording themselves over our people.
According to the youth group, the protest which lasted for 7 hours was called off due to intervention of some Isoko leaders who had promised that government is ready to open up a negotiation with us in a round table discussion.
“However, the protest was a warning and we will not guarantee what will happen should the Government failed to own up to their responsibilities.
“We want to sincerely thank all those who identified with us in one way or the other. History will be kind to you all”, the statement added.