The leadership of the Ijaw Youths Council Worldwide has declared its readiness to shut down the headquarters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over the appointment of a sole administrator instead of a substantive board.
The National Spokesman for the group, Ebilade Ekerefe, said this in a statement on Wednesday, commending Ijaw youths for their huge turnout during the Monday blockage of the East-West Road for over three hours in protest against the appointment of a sole administrator.
Ekerefe, who particularly thanked the three zonal chairmen; Comr. Clever Inodu of Central Zone; Chief Frank Akiefa of Western Zone and Comr. Tobi James of Eastern Zone, for joining the national leadership in demonstrating courage and capacity during the protest, noted that the protest was not over.
He said, "It is a litmus test compared to the next protest that will be staged in the NDDC headquarters, Port Harcourt by Ijaw youths to shut down the commission until President Buhari corrects his error of judgement and appoints a substantive board that will fast-track development in the region as enshrined in the NDDC Act."
The spokesman reassured Ijaw youths and stakeholders of the region that the IYC would no longer sleep over matters of fundamental regional interest, but would go all out legitimately to push for the right things to be done.
Finally, he thanked the security agencies for the professional conduct in the discharge of their duties which to a large extent contributed to the peaceful demonstration without brigandage at the East-West Road.
Angry Ijaw youths on Monday blocked the East-West Road in protest over the appointment of a sole administrator instead of a substantive board for the NDDC.
The protesters under the aegis of Ijaw Youth Council Worldwide gathered at the strategic Mbiama-Yenagoa junction of the federal highway as early as 6.30am, using trailers, trucks and other things to barricade the road. The situation left thousands of travellers and other road users stranded for about three hours.
Attempts by some armed soldiers with an Armoured Personnel Carrier and led by a Major and former Secretary to Bayelsa State Government, Dr. Godknows Igali, who was caught in the gridlock, to dissuade the protesters failed.
Most of the early morning travellers were caught in the gridlock on the usually busy road, spanning more than two kilometres on the Bayelsa and Rivers stretch of the road.
The protesters displayed placards with inscriptions such as "Akpabio, focus on your ministry, we shall occupy NDDC headquarters in few days if the right thing is not done", "President Buhari, please adhere to the demands of the South-South governors in appointing substantive NDDC board," and "We don't want sole administrator for NDDC," among others. They said the appointment of sole administration would fuel a crisis in the region.