The Niger Delta's stakeholders have been cautioned by the Ijaw National Congress (INC) not to let the pipeline surveillance contract given to Chief Government Ekpemupolo nicknamed Tompolo become a source of internal strife that would destabilise the area and increase security.
Prof. Benjamin Okaba, President of INC, the leading umbrella organisation for the Ijaws, offered the counsel during a meeting with some concerned Ijaw youth organisations about the burgeoning oil pipeline surveillance contract at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.
Okaba argued that the Niger Deltans, especially those of Ijaw ancestry, must love themselves in order to prevent the "crumbs" of a contract from tearing the region asunder.
He said it was unfortunate and ridiculous that Ijaw brothers were threatening to kill themselves over crumbs (not even by way of ownership of oil wells) given to them to help the “State siphon away our God-given wealth.”
Okaba stated: “Recently, the INC has been buffeted with reports of brewing tensions among various Ijaw youth groups as a result of the pipeline surveillance contract. We frown at such divisive tendencies and propensities.
“It must not be said that the token was targeted at creating an arena of infighting among Ijaw and Niger Delta people and distracting them from focusing on our well-articulated goals and objectives.
“There are oppressive and suppressive national issues that are confronting us a people. For instance, the National Water Resources Bill designed to subjugate us further, which requires our collective resolve and determination ‘as to defeat this monstrous agenda’ in collaboration with other concerned ethnic groups that share contiguous peculiarities with us.
“We must take cognizance of this fact and other dangers to our existential realities as Ijaw people in a convoluted Nigerian polity.
“Our people have already suffered enough invasions and harassments by federal troops over the years on account of our oil and gas wealth. As you all know, our people are mainly farmers and fishermen and women who depend on our rivers, swamps and creeks for survival.
“In furtherance of the cardinal objectives of the INC, I enjoin you to constitute yourself into a committee charged with the responsibility of interfacing with the different Ijaw groups with a view to harmonising their individual interest and to ensure that in the process the Ijaw unity and agenda are not compromised.”