May 23, 2024

Ijaw Diaspora Council wants improved living standards in N’Delta region


*Prof Mondy Selle Gold, President, Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC)

Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa

The Ijaw Diaspora Council (IDC) says it remains committed to overcoming the developmental and environmental challenges facing the Niger Delta region to improve the standard of living in the area.

Prod Mondy Gold, President of IDC, in a statement on Monday said the group made the resolution to join forces with like-minded interest groups, states and Federal Government for enhanced living standards in the Niger Delta region.

Gold, in the statement, noted that the decision was the outcome of the just concluded 2022 IDC Convention in the United States.

IDC, Gold said, draws members from various continents knit together by their shared culture and values, teaching and enabling millions of Ijaw people to speak and act as one in the face of environmental and economic injustice.

“Oil spills in Ijaw land, shootings, terrorist attacks, and massive public protests have all jolted the Ijaw Diaspora in unprecedented ways.

“Oil prospecting has wrecked the limited agricultural land surface, sea, rivers, streams, and lakes.

“In disasters like the Nembe spill, oil has moved thousands of kilometres across the sea surface, killing millions of seabirds, marine mammals, and sea turtles. Despite the challenges, IDC not only endured but also grew stronger than before,” Gold stated.

He noted that the challenges of the region have made many Ijaws lose the sense of belonging and connection they once had but noted that there is hope with vision, convictions, devotion, and courage.

He explained that there was a need to build a sense of genuine closeness and acceptance, as well as speak with one voice, for a better Ijaw Ethnic Nationality.

He pledged that IDC would continue to expand their affinity and global networks to create additional opportunities for connection and belonging, adding that how they approach history will determine the type of history they get in the future.

He observed that people who live near oil and gas facilities are more likely to be exposed to contaminated groundwater and polluted air. Cancer, birth abnormalities, liver damage, respiratory, cardiovascular, and other disorders.

“In the Ijaw territory, these diseases are directly linked to a significant percentage of mortality. Things would go extremely wrong if we in the diaspora refuse to act or run away from our responsibility, not just for us but also for you and the next generation.

“We must be resolved to overcome all obstacles in order to defend Ijaw territory and contribute to Nigeria’s peace, stability, and progress,” Gold stated.

He assured that the group remains committed to working with all Nigerian neighbours and worldwide partners on an equal and mutually beneficial basis for future generations.

He noted that there are numerous ways the Ijaws in the diaspora can assist in developing infrastructure so that the Ijaw nation can be more respected, peaceful, stable, and prosperous.

He listed the immediate priority of IDC to include pulling Ijaw people out of poverty and providing them with a life of peace, prosperity, decency, and dignity, and immediate construction of the Oloibiri Museum and Research Centre.

Others include the construction of the Ijaw Diaspora Village in Ijawland as soon as possible in collaboration with the federal government and other partners to develop the Ijaw Nation.

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