INC Demands Equity, Justice In Federal Appointments

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Ijaw National Council (INC), has said that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s lopsided appointments was a glaring indication of marginalization of the Ijaw nation.

INC, a socio-cultural group, in a press statement on Monday October 16th 2023, asked Tinubu, to “appoint an Ijaw person into the Nigerian Ports Authority as the Managing Director,”.

The release signed by the president, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, on behalf of Ijaw National Council, expressed concern over the recent federal political developments, especially in terms of appointments, which are skewed in favour of one ethnic nationality.

Prof. Okaba, specifically noted the lopsided appointments in government ministries charged with the development of the region and homeland economy.

He said in the light of all that had happened since Tinubu took over office, “The Ijaw people have been precluded from participating in matters of the development of their own territory even when the resources of these territories contribute immeasurably to the revenue sustaining the entire nation. We do not and shall not accept this practice of exploitation and under-representation”.

He warned that Tinubu’s skewed appointments into the offices of the federal government, favoring some and frustrating others, would not be accepted by the Ijaw nation.

Below is the full text of the press statement

IJAW NATIONAL CONGRESS

We Demand Equity And Justice In Federal Appointments

The attention of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) has been drawn to some developments in Nigeria’s coastal economy, and to publications which report the proposed appointment of a certain fellow (not Ijaw) as the Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority.

We are constrained by the exigencies of the recent federal political developments, especially in terms of appointments, which are skewed in favour of one ethnic nationality to make the following assertions:

(1) That the Ijaw have been left out of the present government of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and have no representation in the entire executive branch of the Federal Government of Nigeria, except for only one federal Ministerial position. We assert that this is not acceptable to the Ijaw people who are major contributors to the Nigerian economy. The Ijaw nation has the dominant population in five coastal states of Nigeria and contribute disproportionately to the revenue of the country.

(2) That we the Ijaw live in and occupy no less than 65% of Nigeria’s coastal lands but have no representation in government ministries charged with the development of our region and homeland economy. These ministries include but not limited to the Ministries of Marine and Blue Economy and its parastatals, Transportation and its agencies, etc. The Ijaw people have been precluded from participating in matters of the development of their own territory even when the resources of these territories contribute immeasurably to the revenue sustaining the entire nation. We do not and shall not accept this practice of exploitation and under-representation.

Arising from the above, therefore:

(A) We demand inclusion in the Federal Government, particularly the executive branch, and insist that Ijaw be adequately represented in policy formulation, planning and implementation of development projects and programmes in Nigeria’s marine economy and associated ministries, parastatals and agencies.

(B) We demand without equivocation that an Ijaw person be appointed Managing Director of the Nigerian Ports Authority. This is because no Ijaw person has occupied that office since the establishment of organization in 1955.

(C) We demand representation on every board or parastatals related to the marine economy in Nigeria. We insist that Government should not be exploiting the resources of our land, seafront and territory without representatives appointed from among our people who own the territory.

(D) We demand immediate actions to be taken and corrections made on the issues raised above.

(E) We insist that the acceptance of amnesty by our people, which has drastically reduced the multifaceted and multidimensional agitations, some of which occasionally injure the national economy, should not be seen as an instrument of subjugating and cowing the Ijaw people.

(F) We state unequivocally that the only way to allow sleeping dogs lie is for the Federal Government to be fair, equitable and just to the Ijaw who are the real owners of the marine economy.

FOR: IJAW NATIONAL CONGRESS (INC),
Prof. Benjamin O. Okaba,
President

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