The Ijaw Youths Council, IYC, Worldwide, has warned politicians involved in the November 11 governorship election in Bayelsa State that the council will not tolerate any form of bloodshed before, during and after the poll.
Rising from its executive council meeting at the weekend, it appealed to the federal and state governments to prioritise lasting solutions to the flood disasters ravaging the Niger Delta region.
The council, in a communique issued after the meeting and signed by factional president Dr Alayi Theophilus, said political actors and gladiators must shun any act that could escalate tension in Bayelsa during the forthcoming poll.
He asked politicians to shun hate speeches and focus on selling their manifestos to the people.
The IYC said: “It is our firm belief that the lives and safety of Ijaw citizens should always supersede political considerations and electoral processes. We shall hold politicians responsible if any Ijaw life is lost during and after the election.
“The IYC shall not fold her arms to see that the existing peace we enjoy in the state is damaged. We advise all politicians to shun hate speeches and focus on telling us their manifestos. Our lives are worth more than any political ambition”.
While commending the federal government and other organisations for their support for flood victims in the region, IYC said to address the problem permanently, there must be the construction of critical drainage systems and dredging of flood-prone communities of the region.
He said: “Recognising the recurring nature of these disasters, we urgently call upon both federal and state governments to prioritize and implement enduring solutions. This includes the construction of various drainage systems to the tributaries that will offload the water to the sea and initiating comprehensive coastline dredging.
“The Bola Ahmed Tinubu-led government must make our abandoned dam in Adamawa functional and create additional three dams within the flood channels to cushion the effect of flood in subsequent years. These dams, when completed and made functional, will not just serve as water reservoirs but also as a source of hydropower that will add to the national grid.
“Ijaw people are yet to recover from the trauma caused by the last year flooding. Goods worth billions of naira were destroyed and strange diseases are being experienced till date. The palliative can never be compared to the disaster we are experiencing”.
The IYC accused the Delta State Governor of marginalizing Ijaw communities in his recent award of N78 billion contracts.
The council said: “While we acknowledge and commend the Delta State Governor for his efforts in awarding a significant N78bn contract, we find it disheartening to observe the marginalization of the Ijaw territories. Projects like the Ayakoromo bridge, which is barely N6 billion to completion, is begging for attention.
“The Ojobo road is abandoned. It is therefore unjust to exclude Ijaw territories in the N78bn contract awarded by the Delta State Government. The IYC calls on the Delt Government to review his move to include Ijaw communities. We assert that the interests of all communities must be earnestly considered in development initiatives”.
The council further condemned all forms of police brutality within the Niger Delta region, particularly recent incidents in Delta State and Rivers State and demanded justice for victims.