The alleged diversion of the Nigerian Maritime University’s Dockyard from its permanent site, Okerenkoko in Delta State to Lagos would triggered fresh crisis in the Niger Delta region, Ijaw Youth Council has warned.
IYC maintained that the rumoured diversion must not be true, otherwise Ijaw youths would vehemently resist it with the last drop of their blood, stressing, “Never again will the Ijaw nation sleep over our rights”.
A statement by Pereotubo Oweilaemi, Esq., IYC President, Worldwide on Sunday read in part:
While we do not want to believe that President Buhari will not make such costly mistake given the fact that it took him so much pains to achieve the Pyrrhic victory of peace in the region, we need to be apprehensive to the rumour because of similar incidents in the past. If there is any truth in the said rumour then the Buhari Government will be committing democratic suicide.
The world needs to know that a dockyard which was to be sited at Burutu Town in Delta State were diverted to Tin Can Island in Lagos in the 80s. We have had so many ugly incidents of this nature. We do not want to believe that the rumour has any bearing with the truth.
The Ijaw nation will resist any attempt to divert the Nigerian Maritime University Dockyard from its permanent site, Okerenkoko to any other place in this Country.
We will revolt against such provocative action by enemies of peace even with the last drop of our blood. Never again will the Ijaw nation sleep over our rights.
Those perfecting such regrettable moves should be wary of their actions because the entire Country will stand to regret the consequences of this evil plan nurtured by agent provocateurs in Buhari Government.
Nigerians and indeed, the world do witnessed the failed attempt to scrap the University by these same evil genus in the Government whose agenda is to sabotage the genuine efforts of President Buhari towards the Niger Delta.
We do not think the Country is yet to fully recover from the attendant economic crisis arising from their mischievous intention to scrap the Institution.
Let this rumour should not germinate into any reality. We urge Mr. President to fast track the building of the permanent site including speed up work on the Dockyard which is already progressing at Okerenkoko in Delta State.
President Buhari should by this timely alarm investigate and fish out those elements in his Government who are bent on thwarting his efforts. Whoever is found culpable of initiating this destructive plan should be appropriately sanctioned.
We use this medium to also condemn in strong term the reduction of the 2018 Budget as it has affected Niger Delta region. It is unacceptable that the sum of N5 billion earmarked by the Presidency as take-off grant for the Nigerian Maritime University Okerenkoko, was slashed by N1.6 billion by the National Assembly, leaving a balance of paltry N3.4 billion for the take off of the University.
Again, the provisions for the completion of the East-West Road, which serves the South-East and South-South oil producing areas of the country, were significantly slashed raising concerns over the completion of the controversial road. For instance, the N1 billion earmarked for the completion of the 99-kilometre stretch from Port Harcourt to Eket in Akwa Ibom State, was slashed to N700 million while the N2.7 billion meant for the 51-kilometre stretch from Eket to Oron all in Akwa Ibom State was reduced to N2.085 billion and the N3.5 billion set aside for the Oron to Calabar stretch was cut to N2 billion.
This is the worst economic war of aggression against the Niger Delta people. We do not know our offence, why the lawmakers chose to use the region as its scapegoat? This political maladroit should be immediately corrected in the interest of peace.
Though we commend the efforts of President Buhari for the N5b grant to the University and the funds appropriated to complete the dilly dally East-West road, the actions of the lawmakers may draw us back to our bleak days. We viewed the actions of the NASS as a political guillotine designed to cut off our socioeconomic destinies. This is provocative and it portend danger to our economy.
We therefore charge Mr. President to send a supplementary budget to the NASS for the inclusion of the abrogated figures in the Maritime University and the East-West road. This is the only panacea to address any likely breach of peace in the region.