Meeting with Buhari didn’t compromise Ijaw agenda – INC President

Meeting with Buhari didn’t compromise Ijaw agenda – INC President


By Simon Utebor, Yenagoa

The President of Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof. Benjamin Okaba, has said that the Ijaw leaders’ recent meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari has not in any way compromised their agitations for true federalism, justice, equity and fairness in the country.

Okaba, who made the assertion on Saturday in an interview in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, said during their meeting with President Buhari, they gave him the minimum conditions that could guarantee their continued existence in Nigeria.

The INC president spoke against the backdrop of insinuations by some aggrieved Ijaw leaders, including a prominent activist, Ms Annkio Briggs, that the INC executives that visited Buhari betrayed and misrepresented the Ijaw cause.

Okaba stated: “I think we are all one, so I would not want to take issues with Ankio Briggs. She has been a comrade in the struggle. I would rather say there was a little gap in communication. The reality is that we spoke the Ijaw cause and Ijaw agenda, which is self-determination. Our speech was fully published on that. I challenge anybody to go through it.

“The whole insinuation is a clear issue of misunderstanding by some persons. Maybe by the time Briggs made the press statement, she had not read the speech or maybe she only relied on extract that was made public by the media to the federal government. Thereafter, we have been able to address the issues and I think we are on the same page.”

He also said they made it clear at the meeting that if they were pushed to the wall, the Ijaw Republic will be declared.

“We know what is happening in other tribes. The majority of the Ijaw believe that the way to go now through negotiation. That is why we are placing emphasis on peaceful and legal strategies to self-determination.

“We gave minimum conditions to Mr President that until the conditions of true federalism, non-balkanisation of Ijaw nation and the creation of additional states and others are met, we no longer feel safe and happy with the Nigeria project.

“We respect the integrity, the interests of other people, we sympathise with many persons that wish to do so but don’t make Ijaw part of it.”

Source: Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics

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