Ijaw youths in their hundreds, under the aegis of Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) on Friday, stormed the headquarters of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC on a courtesy visit to the acting Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Ibim Semenitari.
Led by its President, Comrade Udengs Eradiri, the group noted that a cordial relationship between IYC and NDDC would strengthen peace and development in the area and condemned what he described as “dehumanising” conditions Ijaw youths had been going through in the hands of federal security agents.
Citing cases of torture and high-handedness by soldiers against beneficiaries of Amnesty Programme, the IYC pleaded with the NDDC boss to intervene by drawing the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari to the issues.
The IYC president pleaded that the Federal Government should reconsider its plans to scrap the Maritime University, Okorenkoko in Delta State, just as it called on NDDC to decentralise its operations.
Responding to the demands of the youths, Semenitari who described the commission as their embassy, said there was no option to peace if the region must develop.
While challenging youths of Ijaw extraction to always demand their rights, Semenitari said, however, it should be within the space of justice and equity.
The NDDC CEO, who commended the current executive of IYC for seeking partnership with NDDC to move the region forward, tasked them, to propagate urgent reform of the mindset among the youths.
While acknowledging that some of the demands they made were outside of her office, Semenitari reiterated Buhari’s commitment to the development of the Niger Delta.
“One of the briefs I received from Mr. President was to see that ongoing projects were completed. Mr. President is a man of few words but his body language shows his interest in the Niger Delta region.”
Semenitari, who received the IYC delegation alongside the management team of the Commission, said her doors were always open to them.