The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) on Tuesday called for the creation of two additional states in the Niger Delta to give the Ijaw people space to achieve their aspirations in the Nigerian federation
The President of the IYC, Eric Omare, made the call at Kaiama, the hometown of Late Major Adaka Boro in Kolokuma/Opukuma Local Government Area of Bayelsa during the golden anniversary celebration of the demise of the icon.
According to the IYC leader, 50 years after Boro died while fighting for the freedom of his people, the political fortune of the Ijaw people have not changed drastically.
He noted that Ijaws are still balkanised into six different states mainly as minorities and subjected to all sorts of politically suppression and oppression.
Omare also bemoaned the situation where Nigeria now has thirty-six states whereas the Ijaw people who are the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria.
He said that the situation persisted even when the Ijaws were the first to ask for state creation through their late leader, Harold Dappa-Biriye, at the London constitutional conference still has only one homogeneous state, Bayelsa.
“This is oppressive and totally unacceptable to the Ijaw people especially considering the fact that majority of the resources being used to fund the thirty-six states of the federation and the federal and local governments of the country are from the Ijaw territory,” Omare said.
On the way forward and as a key demand of the Ijaw people on the quest for the restructuring of the country, the IYC President called for the creation of two homogenous Ijaw states.
He said the proposed states, Toru-Ibe State for the Ijaw people of Ondo, Edo and Delta States on the western flank. And Oil Rivers State for the Ijaw people of Akwa Ibom and Rivers.
The states will empower Ijaws to freely express their political aspirations.
Omare stated that the Ijaw areas covered by the proposed Toru-Ibe and Oil Rivers State are geographically contiguous and linguistically homogenous.
He said the only way restructuring can make sense to the Ijaw people is for these two states to be created and this was a key part of the struggle of the Late Isaac Adaka Boro while he was alive.
“It is sad that 50 years after the demise of the late Adaka Boro, his dream of political autonomy for the Ijaw people is yet to be fulfilled.
“It would be recalled that the agitations of the late Adaka Boro led to the creation of the old Rivers State in 1976,” Omare said.