Communiqué of IZON IKEMI : Issued on Sunday 27th January 2013 in FESTAC Lagos
Following The Leadership Meeting of “Izon Ikemi”, The Grassroots of the Ijawnation [comprising Nigerian citizens of Ijaw extraction, within and beyond the Niger Delta States] held on Sunday, 27th January 2013, in the Golden Tulip Hotel, FESTAC, Lagos, where state of the nation issues as they affect the strategic interest of the Ijaw Nation and her sister ethnic nationalities, were exhaustively deliberated upon, the meeting observed and resolved as follows:
1. That the Niger Delta Region has continued to suffer criminal neglect in spite of the cry of the indigenes for proper attention/remedial actions on account of environmental degradation, pollution and other negative effects associated with exploration and production activities of the Oil Companies; the quality of life of the people speedily declines by the day; the region lags far behind its Nigerian counterparts in terms of basic infrastructures such as roads, education, health care services, pipe borne water, electricity, etc; and, the end result is widespread poverty and high rate of frustration throughout the region.
2. That the East–West Road traversing the Niger Delta region, and into the southern states of the Country as a putative Trunk “A” federal road, has remained in a terrible state in spite of the deadly nature that the road has deteriorated to; and, rather than taking pragmatic steps to check the devastating trend, the Hon Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs has been more occupied with face saving media engagements.
3. That the Niger Delta Technical Committee Report, be urgently retrieved off whatever shelves of nonchalance it has been relegated to since being received by both the then President Umaru Musa Yaradua and Vice-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, and implemented comprehensively, for it is an insult to the intelligence of the region that such a vital document put together by so many eminent sons and daughters of the Niger Delta [whose mandate was to distill all the reports on the region, from the Willinks Commission to date; and, recommend urgent practicable action for the development etc. of the Niger Delta] now suffers the same fate of past efforts, despite our having our own in power.
4. That Gas Flaring and unchallenged Oil Spills continue brazenly in the region, despite the Federal Government’s numerous wrist-slaps to International Oil Companies; and no comprehensive or sustainable environment remediation action has taken place, not even in Ogoni-land, despite the UNDP/UNEP Report recommending that urgent action commence.
5. That, in the light of the above, and myriad other very obvious and sad state of affairs, Izon Ikemi demand as minimum demonstration that the President is sensitive to the yearnings and aspirations of his kinsmen and the Nigerian electorate, the immediate removal of the Hon Minister of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, and the concomitant public call, by Mr. President, on all Federal Government MDAs relevant to the region to become more visibly effectual and accountable to the citizenry.
6. That the oil and gas producing communities who bear the brunt of exploration activities seek to directly manage the derivation funds from the Federation Account that are currently going to the State Government coffers; and, Izon Ikemi urge the relevant government institutions and the Presidency to commence the process, forthwith, of ensuring that administrative committees come on stream through appropriate mechanism, to correct the obvious injustice of paying the 13% Derivation Fund through State Governors that have not always been transparent nor accountable with said monies!
7. That the passage into an Act of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), long before the National Assembly, be expedited as being a critical tool to boosting the nation’s revenue-monitoring systems, and positively impacting the lives of all Nigerian citizens, including those in the Niger Delta region. In this wise, we strongly advise National Legislators to focus less attention on parochialisms, and be more concerned about the PIB’s far reaching objectives of ensuring efficient and transparent management of the petroleum sector, to the benefit of all Nigerians.
8. Finally, Izon Ikemi reiterates its unshaken faith in, and support for, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and his administration, whilst calling for urgent attention to be given to the peoples’ desire for an even better management of regional and national affairs by his agents in the Federal MDAs.
Signed on behalf of Izon Ikemi:
Tony ‘Iprinye Uranta (Chairman), Chief Tom Ateke, Ebikabowei Victor Ben (a.k.a Boyloaf), Paul Eris (a.k.a Ogunboss), Sobomabo Jackris (a.k.a Egberi Papa), Chief Kalaiti Jephthah, Chief Dere Biemgbo Ofokome, Chief William Egere, Chief Opaks Harry, Sgt. Werinepere Digifa, Eneyo Athanasius, Dere Akren, Mac–Ake Prince, Lawrence Akpeti, Mike Wenibowei, Famous Daunemugha, Ebi Waribogha, Alh. Omar Farouk Idaoboloijah, Hendrick Opukeme, Dere Akren, Bekes Apere, Charles Taylor, Rev Oba Don Kennedy, Cooler Hart, Robinson Uroupa, Lolo Green Hailsham, Rossbella Jackson, Elfreda Olungwe, Cletus Arerebo, Ebikibena Deiseidei, Joshua Amangala, Amain Winston, Tunde Anaye Kio, Akpos Mezeh (Secretary)