Nathan Tamarapreye, Yenagoa
The President of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Benjamin Okaba has said the Ijaw nation will continue to work together with the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People (MOSOP) and other Niger Delta ethnic nationalities to realise the resolve for resource ownership and self-determination.
Okaba noted that the Ogoni people had played a critical role in the struggle of the region’s minorities against environmental pollution and resource injustice over the years.
He stated this in his address during the 30th celebration of Ogoni Day with the theme, “Leaving No One Behind”, held at the Birabi Memorial Grammar School, Bori.
Okaba said, “The Ijaw nation is resolute in our solidarity with the MOSOP cause for environmental justice, resource control and self-determination.
“It is our unity of purpose as minorities that can guarantee our search for a unified solution to the foisted oppression and dehumanisation we go through daily (in the Niger Del).”
The INC chief advised ethnic groups in the region to be more united and shun divisive tendencies to collectively sustain the spirit of the icon of Ogoni struggle, Ken Saro-Eiwa, and advance the push for self-determination.
He said Ijaw people had never claimed to be the only group that should produce the leadership of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), contrary to comments made by the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, at the event.
He said, “We are knowledgeable enough to know that the Niger Delta has many ethnic nationalities. But the point must be noted that the Ijaw have fought so hard from the days of Isaac Boro and most of our youths have been killed in the course of the struggle.”
He added that the Ijaw nation had no regret and apology for dominating the voice of the minorities in demanding resource ownership, environmental justice, and self-determination in the Nigerian State.
Okaba, who is also the president of Presidents-General of Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities, called for unity and greater synergy to deepen the struggle against hegemonic agenda designed to keep the minorities under hostage.