The 9th President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, Jonathan Lokpobiri, has said that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited should respectfully recognize the Niger Delta when it comes to the oil industry in Nigeria.
In an interview with ARISE NEWS on Friday, Lokpobiri expressed his opinion of what he felt was the unfairness of the NNPC awarding contracts for oil pipeline maintenance to mostly Northern companies rather than people in the Southern region, although NNPC had said they followed due process and awarded the contracts to the most qualified bidders.
“First, while I don’t subscribe to violence, I totally share the sentiments of the opinion of my bothers in the Niger Delta. The most effective essential element for building peace in any community or society is adherence to respectful recognition of the people who have every reason to participate in an environment or a business from their own environment. When you totally undermine a people and think that they can go to hell and nothing can happen, it breeds conflict. We all love peace, and of course, in no greater measures have Niger Delta people shown unto this country that they love Nigeria.
“I can tell you for free, if Niger Delta oil was domiciled in other parts of this country, there will be no need for one Nigeria. The only reason that is keeping Nigeria one is because there is an oil funding of oiling the wheels of Nigeria. So, nobody can convince any reasonable thinking person in this world that you awarded the maintenance of oil pipelines within my community to people who have more than a thousand kilometres to the Niger Delta with no disaster on their environment, and you claim that you selected the most qualified companies, almost all from the northern part of this country.
“This is very insulting. It’s an abuse of power by the current leadership of the NNPC…there is a need for national cohesion through responsible public service. Even the UN SDG goals clearly advocates the adherence to cultural context or respect for cultural context in the issuance of government policies, most especially when it has to do with economy and politics.
“Today, the entire management of NNPC, not just the issue of awarding of these contracts, the entire NNPC management or the MDAs under the petroleum ministry, I can say that 75% are North, while the rest are shared between the West and the East.
“If truly, you want a united Nigeria, are you happy that you suppress others from even surviving, so, you create a wealthy northern Nigeria and then a poor south where this oil that oils the wheel of this country totally comes from, it’s unacceptable. While I do not advocate for violence, I will not sit here and watch oil maintenance pipeline from our communities all totally awarded to northern companies.”
Responding to Theophilus Alaye’s claim that he is the President of the IYC, Lokpobiri said, “Yes, he is an Ijaw Youth, but Theoplhilus Alaye is not a known member of IYC. This guy in question has no records with the IYC.”
The former IYC president went on to say, “It is much more easier to be an elected senator within the Niger Delta than to be elected as the President of the Ijaw Youth Council. This is a testimony that is verifiable on the ground. If this guy who parades himself as some sort of leader or president of IYC, ask him fundamental questions. If anybody did election, where was his election done?”
When asked about the case that Alaye filed in court to this effect, Lokpobiri said, “He instituted a case in the court, and we are expecting to have a full service to us. The only thing I hear is on Facebook that he is in court. We have a legal adviser of council and other qualified legal opinion leaders if can, if he truly has a case to make, the court can handle that. But the fact is the IYC does not get leadership through the handing of the flag. Who have deceived him continually to believe that the power is in the cloth, the flag he has, not through the ballot. He didn’t contest in an election to even claim that he is a part of it, because he is not part of the election, we are not aware. He is not known to any of the organs of councils in all the zones and chapters across the world.”