Bayelsa State governor, Douye Diri, alongside leaders of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and other stakeholders have waded into the controversy arising from the N48 billion pipeline surveillance contract awarded by the Federal Government to Chief Government Ekpemupolo, also known as Tompolo.
At the end of the meeting in Government House, Yenagoa, Diri said stakeholders of the Ijaw nation led by the INC President, Prof. Benjamin Okaba and other ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta resolved to work together to protect Federal Government facilities in the region.
Tompolo, King Ateke Tom and Chief Dokubo Asari had representatives at the meeting.
Diri said the meeting examined the various issues that threatened the unity of the Ijaw nation following the award of the pipeline surveillance contract to Tompolo’s firm.
The governor said at the end of meeting held primarily to foster peace and unity within Ijaw land, all aggrieved parties agreed to sheathe their swords.
“I am happy that the issue has been put behind us. Beyond building consensus, all hands must be on deck to protect the oil pipelines. Today, we have seen the end of the matter. Tompolo and Asari are brothers. We have all come to a consensus to protect all federal presence, especially oil pipelines in the Niger Delta, as we sue for peace to attract development,” he said.
A communique titled: “We are stronger together” read by Prof. Okaba at the end of the meeting said a five-man reconciliatory committee had been constituted to interface with various groups and individuals on the pipeline surveillance issue.
It further noted that the Ijaw people were irrevocably committed to the peace, unity and stability of the ethic group and other nationalities in the Niger Delta. It called on the Federal Government to fast-track the realisation of the proposal for the establishment of modular refineries to put an end to illegal refineries and pollution of the environment.
Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) has alleged military complicity in the crude oil theft in the Niger Delta.
IYC at a press conference by its spokesman, Ebilade Erekefe at Ijaw House, Yenagoa over the weekend alleged that corrupt military personnel were behind the crude oil theft and that in a bid to cover their tracks had resorted to the invasion of Ijaw communities in Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers states under the guise of searching for “unrepentant militants and oil thieves.”
He identified Tuoma, Biliie, Okogbe, Udouda communities in Degema and Ahoada Local Government Areas as recent victims of the genocide being carried out by the military in Niger Delta region.
“IYC investigation revealed that most of the repeated military invasion has shown a criminal aspect of armed campaign against the Ijaw nation and the conflict of interests in the proceeds accrued from illegal activities of crude oil theft in the region. Let me reiterate that the IYC is ready to support and encourage any sincere action against economic sabotage and the remediation of the environment which has been degraded.”
Clark hails Diri, endorses resolutions
Leader of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Edwin
Clark, has hailed Governor Diri, for summoning a peace meeting of stakeholders to douse the tension generated by the divergent viewpoints of notable Ijaw sons over the pipeline surveillance contract.
Clark in a statement he personally signed, said: “I warmly commend Governor Douye Diri, who, incidentally, is the “Governor General” of the Ijaw people, for his timely intervention and unfaltering commitment to the unity and peace of the Ijaw nation, the Niger Delta and by extension, the country.
“Likewise, I commend the zeal and patriotism of the President of the Ijaw National Congress, Professor Benjamin Okaba and the Ijaw leaders who were at the meeting. I also thank my sons, Alhaji Asari Dokubo, King Ateke Tom, High Chief Tompolo and the other young people, for agreeing to bury the hatchet and work together in the interest of the Ijaw Nation, the region and the nation at large.
“I fully endorse the resolutions taken at the meeting and strongly advise that all the concerned stakeholders should adhere to and abide by the resolutions, and whatever further steps that would be taken to ensure that perceived differences are totally resolved and that our youths will now work together, in the spirit of brotherhood, to safeguard the relative peace in the region.
“We do not want further bickering and disorder in any part of the Niger Delta region. The region should not be distracted by these “soupcons”, let’s focus on the “big picture” of the sustainable development of the Niger Delta region.”
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