Thursday, October 29, 2020

EndSARS Protest: Itsekiri National Youth Council Calls for Referendum

EndSARS Protest: Itsekiri National Youth Council Calls for Referendum
Comr. Weyinmi Agbateyiniro, INYC President

The President of the Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC), Comr. Weyinmi Agbateyiniro in this exclusive interview with the Editor of Warri Voice Newspaper, Miss Tetsoma Neyin, gave strong reasons why they are fully in support of the ongoing EndSARS protest and other issues affecting the Itsekiri ethnic Nationality. 

What is your take about the ENDSARS protest?

As you can see, the protest is not only phenomenal but also spontaneous, when an injustice is bottled up for a very long time without being properly addressed especially if there is the suspicion that it will not genuinely be attended to,the result is what we all have seen. There is hardly any segment of this country that has not collapsed woefully. Hence, we as a youth body see this ENDSARS protest as a metaphor for injustices meted on the Nigerian populace by her own government. Nigerian youths from generation to generation in the hope for a better tomorrow and our characteristic resilience were asked to be patient. from patience, we were told to endure,and; from endurance, we were further told to persevere even in the midst of all these injustices. Now that the centre can no longer hold because the purported hope for a better tomorrow has become a mirage, we have yielded to the protest.
What does ENDSARS protest mean to Itsekiri youths?

As you have seen, EndSARS protest means different things to different people. But in all, it is a reflection of the degree of pathological injustice, oppression, suppression, deprivation and suffocation that Nigerians baske in on daily basis.

John F. Kenedy was right when he said that a society that cannot guarantee the survival of the many that are poor, can also not guarantee the safety of the few that are rich.  

To, Isaac Newton in his third law of motion :, “to every action, there must be equal and opposite reaction”. You cannot continue to slap a child and expect as a father, that the child will not cry.

 It will interest you to know that when Nigeria was to be given birth to through the now infamous amalgamation of 1914, the Itsekiri ethnic nationality represented by Chief Dore-Numa of blessed memory was among the five ethnic nationalities that signed the instrument of the amalgamation into existence. 

Like every child will want to survive after delivery, the itsekiri ethnic nationality, again with very few other ethnic nationalities out of the over 250 ethnic nationalities in Nigeria have been the ones responsible for the economic survival of the Nigeria State till date. Yet, back home, we have nothing to show for this huge burden that we carry on behalf of the entire nation.

Statistics from the department of Petroleum Resources show that Itsekiri is the largest producer of crude oil and gas both in Delta State and Edo State and the second largest in the entire nation. Another way of restating this is that the payment of the salaries and wages of all categories of civil servants, public servants, elected or appointed political office holders -whether locally here in Nigeria or elsewhere are heavily dependent on revenue generated from the Itsekiri ethnic nationality.

Furthermore, the annual budgetary provisions of all tiers of government in Nigeria that have translated into roads, health facilities, higher institutions, skyscrapers and infrastructural beauties you see in all parts of this country are all products of the uninterrupted revenue generated from the Itsekiri homeland.

To put this axiom to text is to ask that oil and gas production from all Itsekiri oil and gas producing communities be stopped for just two months and the result will be there for everyone to see.
The economic disaster that will occasioned by this stoppage will dwarf the economic disaster that visited Nigeria recently during the corona virus pandemic economic lockdown.
It is therefore the lack of reciprocity from the Nigerian government to the Itsekiri people for this huge burden that we shoulder for the economic survival of the whole nation that essentially provoked the spontaneity with which  the Itsekiris youths mobilize themselves massively in our various urban centres of Warri, koko, Sapele, etc and in all our communities in the creeks of the riverine parts of this country to protest and register our displeasure on how we have been grossly marginalised in the Nigeria equation.

Interestingly, those in diaspora, US, UK, Canada, etc in solidarity with us here back home were not left out. 
Whereas Itsekiri Youths in the Ugborodo axis came out massively to demand for the speedy execution of the Ogidigben Gas Revolution Industrial Park that has the potential of engaging over 15000 youths in terms of both direct and indirect jobs, sand-filling and reclamation of their communities from ocean surge occasioned by the uninterrupted exploitation of crude oil and gas from their communities by the IOCs, proliferation of abandoned NDDC projects in their communities that are now death traps,the proposed redundancy policy of Chevron Nigeria Ltd to sack Itsekiri workers from their payroll and the daily exposure of our people to regular gas flaring.

The Itsekiri youths in the Koko, Olero, Bobi, Bateren and Ogheye axis protested against the abandoned Koko Ogheye Lagos road and the deliberate policy of the Federal Government to suffocate us economically by not dredging the relevant channels leading to the sea port in Koko to open economic activities for our teeming youths in Koko and its environs.

For those in Warri metropolis, their protest was against the unwillingness of the Federal Government to open Warri sea port by dredging the Warri Escravos Channel and ofcouse, police brutality. 

For the youths in Ubeji, Ifiekporo, Aja-Etan, and Ikeren who are host to the headquarters of Nigeria gas Company, WRPC, PPMC, NPDC and other Subsidiaries of NNPC on their land, their protest was essentially against the recent nationwide recruitment of NNPC into their subsidiaries without considering the interest of graduates from those host communities and the sacking of not less than 200 Itsekiri casual staff of WRPC with the sole aim of substituting them with the newly recruited NNPC staff, even against a subsisting National Assembly Resolution against such.

For the youths in the Omadino axis,theirs is about their federated Omadino communities and the non enforcement of Okerenghigho and Ubakokodia supreme court judgements delivered in their favour. It is also about them being host to the largest oil field in Africa yet have nothing on ground in terms of infrastructural development to show for it.

To us as a National Youth Council, the End Sars protest means opposing the arbitrariness, selective enforcement and application of justice and outright sale and purchase of justice in the Nigerian system. Why will the Federal Government of Nigeria not deploy the same speed and tenacity with which the Bayelsa, Imo, Zamfara and Bauchi Supreme Court Governorship elections in all our known judicial pronouncement?

Our EndSARS protest is also about devolution of power and true Federalism. The Federal Government gave exclusive rights to Zamfara State to mine their gold, why can’t we also take absolute control of our crude oil, gas and other natural resources in our homeland in line with the principle of true Federalism?
Over 70% of all the items listed in the exclusive list that has no business been there.They should be devolved to the residual LEGISLATIVE  list because the Federal Government of Nigeria has no business in determining the quantity and quality of health and educational centres as well as security requirement of our local environment.

For, if power is devolved and true Federalism is well enforced, our state governors can conveniently address all such issues. Our protest is also about the protection of minority right as it was clearly defined in the 1963 Constitution.
What is now the way forward for Nigeria?

The way forward is about devolution of power, practice of true and fiscal Federalism, protection of minority right, stoppage of gas flaring in all our oil and gas producing communities and payment of compensation of all affected communities, the immediate funding of all abandoned NDDC projects in our communities, the commencement of work at the GRIP site in Ogidigben, the dredging of all channels leading to Koko and Warri Sea Ports in order to unlock the enormous economic activities in those Ports for the benefits of the youths.
Also, Chevron Nigeria LTD should stop its proposed sacking of Itsekiri workers from their payroll and WRPC should honour the National Assembly’s resolution barring it from sacking casual staff.

The Federal Government should put machineries in place to stop the issue of selective application of justice and strengthen all principles of rule of law as obtainable in a constitutional democracy because what we have in Nigeria is constitutional democracy and in a constitutional democracy, what is held sacrosanct is the rule of law; not rule of might. 

The fraudulent 1999 Constitution should be jettisoned and in its place, a referendum should be conducted to give room for all citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and nationalities to determine how they want to be governed.
What is your final words?
This interview will be inconclusive if I fail to pay glowing tribute to all martyrs of the struggle.They have all written their names on gold and they will forever be remembered on the good side of history.  Payment of compensation to their respective families is not adequate.  All those responsible  for their untimely death must be Fitch out and dealt with in accordance with the law. and to all heroes and heroines of the struggle who defied the heavy intensity of the sun, rain, military intimidation both locally and in diaspora, it is commendation galore. With you there is hope for  greater Nigeria.

Friday, October 23, 2020

#EndSARS Protest: Delta Publishers Blame Government for Loss of Lives, Properties

#EndSARS Protest: Delta Publishers Blame Government for Loss of Lives, Properties

Delta State Publishers, under the aegis of Delta Guild of Indigenous Newspaper Publishers DGINP, has regretted the unfortunate incidences of loss of lives and destruction of both private and public properties in the ongoing End-SARS protests, blaming the government for insensitivity, which eventually led to the avoidable killings and destructions.

DGINP, in a statement, which was signed by the Guild's President, Mr. Femi Odonmeta and Secretary, Prince Daniel Ekiugbo, said the loss of lives and destructions of properties would have been avoided if the government had responded proactively and timely enough to the reasonable and congent demands of the protesters for the past two weeks.

The Guild which threw it's full weight behind the genuine requests being made by the protesters, since their demands were genuinely targeted at curbing the unabated abuse of Nigerians by some devilish security operatives for more than a decade as well as calling for a general change in leadership attitudes, however frowned at the hijack of the protests by some hoodlums who abandoned the genuine agenda of the protests to start attacking private businesses and state infrastructure.

The Delta Media Executives also condemn, in very strong terms, the reported attack on journalists, media houses and security personnel in the line of performing their legitimate duties.

"We wish to passionately call on Nigerians to see media houses, journalists and security personnel on essential duties as people carrying out their legitimate duties of either informing or providing security for lives and properties, and therefore need to be supported by all instead of being attacked", the statement noted.

They extended their condolences to the families of those who lost their lives as well as sympathised with those that lost valuable properties as a result of the hijack of the protests by hoodlums.

The Guild, however, urged Nigerians, especially the younger generation that is mainly involved in the genuine protests to remain focused on their determination to get the country on the path of greatness again, and never allow the death of some protesters quench the fire in them to restructure the system in Nigeria for the benefit of all.

Friday, October 16, 2020

Ologbo Indigenes protests against Enogie existence in their land

Ologbo Indigenes protests against Enogie existence in their land

 Indigenes of  Ologbo and other Itsekiri/Ijaws communities in Edo State have rejected the alleged imposition of a Benin ruler (Enogie) on them, saying that they are radically different in all ramifications from the Binins.

The people who protested the modern day colonialism in their age-long communities carried placards bearing such inscriptions as: “Enogie you are not an indigene of Kolokolo”, “Leave our community alone”, “Ajatiton is not under enogie”, “Nigeria Constitution does not recognize your position” and so on.

Addressing newsmen at the Ologbo Town Hall, Tuesday, October 13th, 2020 Mr. Greg Temisan Luma and Mr. Berlin Tiemo stated that they have their own traditional administrative structure in place since time immemorial even before the advent of colonial rule dating over 400 years in comparison with the 1988 “Enogie imposition” in Ologbo, saying that “we shall resist this aberration with the last pint of our blood”.

In a statement signed by representatives of all the Itsekiri/Ijaws communities in Ikpoba-Okha local Government Council Area of Edo State, they requested the immediate withdrawal of the letters from the enogie instructing the inauguration of new executives in the various Itsekiri communities of Ologbo, Ikara, Kolokolo, Ajoki, Ajamogha and Abiala1 and 2 respectively, insisting that the enogie has no such powers to so.

According to the statement, “the enogie should be cautioned to desist from inciting the people against one another for his own selfish interest and should also stop creating crisis in our once peaceful communities”, adding that “these communities predates the establishment of his purported dukedom that came into existence in 1988 as the Itsekiris have lived in these areas for over 400 years”.  

They warned the enogie to desist from playing the ignoble role of a meddlesome interloper and busy-body in the internal affairs of the various Itsekiri/Ijaw communities and has no right to appoint people to manage their affairs for them.

While stating that they would not be subsumed or assimilated into the Benin tradition/culture by any means to tactically obliterate their identities and deprive them of their inalienable right to self-determination in modern Nigeria, they cautioned the enogie and his sponsors to desist from using security agencies and the Judiciary in Edo state to harass and intimidate them any further to coerce them into submission.

“It becomes highly ludicrous for somebody from another ethnic nationality to claim native authority over communities he does not relate to by birth or adoption, and even communities he has never been to and speak the native languages”, the statement emphasized.

They therefore called on all the relevant Federal and State authorities to call the enogie to order to forestall a total breakdown of law and order.

Crises looms in Warri as INYC gives Chevron Nig. LTD 7 days Ultimatum to halt its proposed redundancy policy on over 600 Staff

Crises looms in Warri as INYC gives Chevron Nig. LTD 7 days Ultimatum to halt its proposed redundancy policy on over 600 Staff
Itsekiri National Youth Council President, Comr. Weyinmi Agbateyiniro

By Tetsoma Neyin

Itsekiri Apex Youth body under the auspices of Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC), has issued a seven days ultimatum to Chevron Nig. LTD to halt with immediate effect its redundancy policy on over 600 CNL Staff.

A statement issued by the Apex Itsekiri Youth body  to Chevron Nig. LTD Friday October 16, 2020 stated that  Chevron is taking the Itsekiri ethnic Nationality for granted as they will not hesitate to shutdown Chevron for a noble cause such as this.

"This call, no doubt, becomes expedient in order to avert the concomitant reactions which could cause serious break down of law and order across the length and breadth of the entire Niger Delta region"

"Chevron has more Americans than Africans especially Nigerians in their workforce. Therefore, it will be most appropriate to reason that America is the best place to retrench workers because they have the biggest economy and lowest unemployment rate in the world. They can absorb their people into other sectors easily but Nigeria does not have the capacity to take care of anyone who is laid off"

"Since no labour or trade union  confer on the Itsekiri people and other ethnic nationalities in the Niger delta the status of an oil and gas producing communities, they must as a matter of urgency hands off any form of negotiations on all issues relating to this redundancy policy as the Itsekiri people will not allow the destiny of their bread winners to be trade off over a mess of pottage" 

"Let Chevron be unequivocally told that owing to the signicance attached to these employees that majority of our people heavily depend on for their survival and of course, our employment quota which has not been completely filled in line with our crude oil and gas production quantum and the Nigerian local content law, if others compromise and trade off the interests of their employees on your payroll, the Itsekiri National Youth Council (INYC) will not allow a single itsekiri staff in your workforce to be dropped. Accordingly, we shall mobilise everything at our disposal to ensure that this evil does not happen in our life time"

"Consequent upon all the aforementioned, we are therefore giving your management seven days (with effect from today) to revoke this redundancy policy and make such revocation public or be prepared to face the full wrath of the Itsekiri people." the statement said.

In a telephone chat with Warri Voice Newspaper shortly after the publication, President of the Apex Itsekiri Youth body, Comr. Weyinmi Agbateyiniro said that Chevron has no reason to lay off workers in an impromptu manner, saying that they are very ready to unleash their furry on Chevron if, its Management fails to yield to their demands.  

Thursday, October 15, 2020


His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, The Olu of Warri

By Tetsoma Neyin

The Warri Monarch, His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, the Olu of Warri, on Thursday October 8, 2020,  inaugurated in his palace a 9-member Itsekiri Budget Assessment and Project Monitoring Committee, 
The revered Monach members of the Committee to see their appointments which was carefully done personally by him as more service to the Itsekiri nation.

"I personally selected you all based on your individual pedigree, experience, professionalism, integrity and contributions to the Itsekiri over the years. See your new appointments as a further opportunity to serve the Itsekiri nation," the first class Warri monarch charged the appointees.

Members of the committee are: Chief Kofi Edonmi Kartey, Chief Solomon Arenyeka, Chief Emmanuel Uduaghan, Chief (Mrs) Patricia Otuedon-Arawore, Dr. Andrew D. Ayu, Mr. Amorighoye Sunny Mene, Mr. Griftson Timeyin Omatsuli, Prof. Jim Nesin Omatseye and Comrade Alex Eyengho.

The committee immediately swung into action by holding its inaugural meeting shortly after the inauguration by the Warri Monarch by setting up its executives members. They are;
 Chief Kofi E. Kartey (Chairman), Mr. Amorighoye S. Mene (Secretary) and Comrade Alex Eyengho (Public Relations Officer, P.R.O).

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Federal Government gets one week ultimatum from PTD to fix Sapele-Benin Roads

 Federal Government gets one week ultimatum from PTD to fix Sapele-Benin Roads

Petroleum Tanker Drivers, PTD, an arm of Nigeria  Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers of Nigeria, NUPENG,  has cried out on the appalling state of the Sapele-Benin, Eku-Agbor express roads, handing the Federal Government a one week ultimatum to commence work on the roads.

The first Deputy National Chairman of PTD, Mr. Lucky Osesua, who was accompanied by other national and zonal officers of PTD, while addressing newsmen in Warri on Sunday October 4, 2020 appealed to Nigerians to lend their voices by urging the Federal Government to repair bad Federal Government roads.

He said petroleum tankers were having very bitter experience at the Ologbo portion of the Sapele -Benin express road with many of them stranded at the spot for as much as five days due to the deplorable state of the road.

He said they would not hesitate to withdraw their tankers from the road if the government failed to move in to start repair work on the road  and other similar roads.

He expressed strong worry with the danger of petroleum tankers meandering through bad roads, saying it could cause loss of lives.

“We are here today to give the government one week ultimatum to begin work on the bad express roads here. Our tankers are trapped for days at the bad spots. It is very dangerous for trailers with petroleum products to be struggling through bad roads. We all know the implication of this for other motorists and road users.

“We have met with government on the need to fix the bad roads but nothing concrete came out. This is why we had to come out with this ultimatum. If by the end of the week we don’t see workers fixing the roads, we will ask our tankers to stop lifting of Petroleum product,” he said.

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