Crisis looms in Edo over ownership of Gelegele community
The President of the Ijaw Youths Council ( IYC ) , Eric Omare has said that the ownership issue of Gelegele community in Edo State, if not properly handled may lead to a serious communal crisis.
Addressing a press conference at the Nigerian Union of Journalists , NUJ Warri Correspondents Chapel, the newly elected President in company of the national spokesperson of the council, Henry Oyala and other members of his executive, which is to run the affairs of the council for the next three years, lauded the Acting President for his fact finding tour of the Niger Delta region adding that this has brought relative peace to the region.
He said Gelegele community , which according to him, is an Ijaw Community, is highly impacted community and has suffered a great deal because of gas flaring which is right at the centre of the community.
He said that the Acting President , Prof.Yemi Osinbanjo during his visit Edo State some days ago, was supposed to have visited the community to see things for himself and the level of impact, and thereafter give a specicif and immediate directive on how to address the issue of the gas flare.
While alleging marginalization of the Ijaws in appointments and elected positions in Edo State, the IYC said the uproar that occurred mid way into the meeting with the Acting President in Edo State was not to be handled with levity as according to him, that was a “timed bomb.”
“We wish to re-iterate the unhappiness of the people and call on the Prof. Osinbsjo to at least visit Gelegele to see things for himself. It is not enough for you to go to cities and hear presentations of people, but when you have first hand knowledge of some of these challenges, it will help you to address the challenges.” He said.
“So , we call on Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo to visit Gelegele the Ijaw community in Edo State, we have a gas flare in the community and there are a lot of health related hazards the are connected to that gas flare”.
The Edo State Government had proposed the development of the Gelegele seaport to boost the economy of the state and create jobs.
He named other Ijaw Communities in Edo State to include, Okomu in Ovia South West ,Abiala 1&2 in Ikpoba Okha Local Government Areas of Edo State. These Ijaw Communities have nothing to show for their God given natural resources.
The IYC President insisted that they were not in agreement with the Acting President’s position that there was no need for dialogue as according to him,
” Our position is that while the fact finding tour should be used to build confidence, it should be capped up with a dialogue between the Niger Delta people and the federal government of Nigeria to address the key question of resource ownership. ”
“No amount of tour or palliative measure will be enough to address the Niger Delta problem.”
Barrister Eric Omare, also called on the Acting President, Prof.Yemi Osinbajo to give multinational companies a time frame to relocate their corporate headquarters to the Niger Delta Region.
He said, that relocating the headquarters of the oil companies was aimed at boosting the local economy of the region but emphasised that the order will not have much effect without a time frame given for the relocation. He said,
” The directive will not be a mere directive, there should be a time frame within which that directive will be carried out, because that is the only way the directive would make any sense and be useful to the Niger Delta people, on behalf of the IYC and the Niger Delta people, we call on the Acting President to direct the Minister of State Petroleum, Mr.Ibe Kachikwu to give a time frame to compel the oil companies to relocate their headquarters to Niger Delta region”.
The IYC President also made case for Ogbe-Ijoh community in Warri South Local Government Area of Delta State by calling on Governor Ifeanyi Okowa to rebuild community which was destroyed during the Ijaw and Aladja crisis.