The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has vowed to pursue the establishment of a regional security outfit in the New Year to police the Niger Delta region, especially the Southsouth geopolitical zone.
In his New Year address in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Saturday, the IYC President, Peter Timothy Igbifa, said like the Amotekun in the West, it had become expedient for the Southsouth to float its security outfit.
Igbifa listed the security challenges in the zone, especially the Ijaw-speaking communities, saying the youths would mount pressure on the governors to undertake all executive and legislative processes required to evolve the outfit.
He said: “We are not alien to the reports of infiltrations of the herdsmen and other groups in our bushes and environment. The recurrent discovery of guns and live ammunitions on the highways is a clear indication that we must be prepared at all times.
“The news of our women being raped and killed in bushes, farmers intimidated and maimed on a regular basis and travellers robbed and killed is becoming unbearable.
“We, therefore, call on all structures of the council, zonal chapters and clans to set up mechanisms to check this unfortunate security threat in our region. I and my team are seriously considering the establishment of our own regional security outfit in line with the proposal made by the governors of our region. We shall push for this outfit and impress it upon the governors to invoke the required legislative process to give it a legal backing”.
Igbifa said the IYC under his leadership would push for the relocation of the headquarters of oil multinationals to the Niger Delta region in obedience to presidential directives; the passage of the Petroleum Industrial Bill (PIB) into law; practice of true federalism, stoppage of military invasion in Ijaw communities and issuance of indigenous licenses for modula refineries.
He said the IYC would hold all political holders from the region accountable and compel them to defend the common course of the Ijaw people.
“As 8th President of IYC, I urge all political office holders both at the national, regional, state and local levels to rise up and defend the cause of the Ijawland and challenge every law that has kept us as tenants even in our own homes.
“We want them to challenge the Land Use Act; the waterways laws; environmental acts, the ecological problems among others. We the IYC will collaborate to defend any of our political office holders willing to tread on the path of Ijaw”, he said.
Igbifa decried the disunity among different stakeholders in Ijawland lamenting that if the division remained unabated, the Ijaw people would not be able to realise their common aspirations.