Former Minister of Information and Ijaw warlord, Chief Edwin Clark, has stated that militancy has been made out of the Ijaws of the Niger Delta because of relegation, suffering and deprivation, said that his kinsmen are being perpetually subjected to by the imperious Federal Government.
Clark disclosed this on Tuesday at his Kiagbodo country home in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State where he met the newly-inaugurated executive of the Izon-Ebi Oil and Gas Producing Communities Association (IOGPCA) led by its President, James Edoukumor.
“They say we are militants. Who would stay in his own house and allow a stranger to come and pour sand on his head?
We will continue to fight for our God-given right,” the octogenarian retorted.
Speaking further on the Ijaws’ grouse against the Federal Government and its oppressive agents, the former Minister of Information reiterated that his people lacked basic social amenities in spite of being the custodian of the natural resource that has been enriching the nation’s treasures.
“Nobody living in a land area in this country will ever recognise the suffering we have been living with.
We live in water, yet we have no water to drink.
We have no healthcare, no school, no roads, yet we produce the resources that oil the wheel of this country.
Those exploiting the oil in our land have been very selfish, unjust, and oppressive. They want to perpetually own it, and we say No.
There are even people who believe that for Federal Government to exploit our oil, we should be removed from the area to make it easier to short change us.
God will never agree with them. God gave us the resources and God believe that we should be part of it,” he averred.
Clark, who’s the leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), also stated that his ethnic Ijaw suffers the worst deprivations and underdevelopment in Nigeria.
According to him, “our case is worse than the almajiris up North.”
Meanwhile, president of IOGPCA, Edoukumor, who was accompanied by his Secretary, Lambert Odudu, and Public Relations Officer, Richard Koremene, and other members of the executive, said they visited Clark, Grand Patron of the body, to seek his blessing shortly after their inauguration in Warri.
However in another development, Clark, while attending to a delegation of ex-militants who are protesting delayed payment of beneficiaries’ stipends by the Amnesty Office, bemoaned widespread divisions and disunity among Ijaw groups, saying it is inimical to the progress of the people.
“My problem with our people is that sometimes we are our own enemy. We allow the same people exploiting us to divide us. Youths don’t respect elders.
“You come together or form a group today, you go to Abuja to collect money and the next day the group is split into two or three.
“The moment you sell your birth right, you become second class citizen. Nobody will respect you again,” he warned while promising to intervene.
Spokesman for Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Eric Omare, who spoke on behalf of the ex-militant leaders, had earlier enjoined Clark to prevail on the Gen Paul Boroh-led Federal Government Amnesty Office to offset arrears of stipends owed the former militants before they lose their patience.