*Warns against divide and rule tactics
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has commended President Muhammadu Buhari and the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG) for the Tuesday’s flag-off of the company’s Train-7 project in Bonny Island, Rivers State.
The President, IYC, Peter Timothy Igbifa, in a statement he signed in Port Harcourt said the IYC was particularly interested in the over 12,000 direct jobs the project would generate on completion.
Igbifa asked the company to ensure that the Ijaw communities directly and indirectly hosting the project were fairly carried along without resorting to the wicked old tactic of divide and rule.
He said the youths in the affected communities must be engaged from the construction of the project to its completion to reduce tension in the company’s area of operation.
Igbifa warned against intimidating and shortchanging any Ijaw community hosting the project insisting that the IYC would not tolerate such injustice.
He lamented the environmental hazards especially air pollution caused by the activities of NLNG in Bonny and surrounding communities saying the company had yet to address all the issues.
He recalled how a particular specie of fish died in its numbers and was washed ashore the Bonny Ocean, adding that despite the promises of the authorities to investigate the cause of the incident, nothing had happened since then.
Igbifa appealed to the NLNG to avoid any incident that would further worsen the Bonny environment in its quest to complete the Train-7.
He also advised the company to settle the rift between the Finima community and Bonny to avoid a repeat of the recent violence that broke out in the area.
Condemning the violence that led to arson and inflicted injuries on many people, Igbifa urged the Bonny and Finima communities to embrace dialogue and resist the temptation of waging a war against each other.
The IYC boss further asked the warring parties in Andoni Local Government Area of the state to end the age-long conflict in the council, sheath their swords and embrace peace.
He said: “The groundbreaking of the NLNG Train-7 project in Bonny is a welcome development. We are ready to partner with the NLNG and the government to complete the project within the stipulated time.
“As a Council, we appeal to the company to carry all the host communities to the project along without resorting to the the wicked old tactic of divide and rule.
“Youths from the communities must be considered for employment to reduce the tension in the affected area. The company should also avoid any incident that will worsen the environment of Bonny. Care must be taken to protect the environment”.