The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) on Tuesday vowed to occupy all oil installations in the Niger Delta region to protest alleged lopsided applications of the mining regulations.
The IYC President, Peter Igbifa, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, said the council was at the concluding stage of its plan to roll out a decisive action against the Federal Government.
Igbifa said it was provocative for the government to allow the locals in the northern part of the country to explore and exploit their mineral resources including gold deposits in Zamfara State while criminalising such practice on crude oil in the South.
He said there was no going back in the decision of aggrieved Ijaw youths to seize oil wells, facilities and platforms in a widespread protest that would last until the government attended to their demands.
As part of their demands, he said the government should facilitate the amendment of the Constitution to ensure resource control; amend the Act establishing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); address wetland challenges in the region and kill the Water Resources Bill.
Igbifa said their decision to cripple oil production in the region was not a threat but a promise insisting that all the youths had been alerted and were waiting for the directive of the council.
He asked residents in the region to stock their homes with foodstuffs adding that the protest would include occupation of the East-West Road and other deplorable roads in the region until the government showed practical commitments of renovating them.
He said: “We appeal to residents to manage their available resources and stock their homes ahead of this planned shutdown of activities around the Niger Delta in the coming days.
“We are undertaking this painful path to ask the Federal Government to facilitate the amendment of the constitution to ensure resource control; amend the NDDC Act, address Wetland challenges; kill the Water Resources bill and show practical commitments in reconstructing the East-West road and other deplorable federal roads in the Niger Delta.
“The time is now to build a new Niger Delta of our dream. We are tired of the talk show and we feel cheated that the mining Act allows Zamfara State and other parts of the Niger Delta to own these solid minerals including gold deposits and forbids the Niger Delta and Ijaw communities from owning the crude oil in their backyards.
“Our consultations have reached the peak and in the coming days, the Nigerian State will have to contend with the anger of our youths.” (News Express)