The organisers of the Occupy Niger Delta Protest (ONDP) have lambasted the Spokesperson, Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide, Ebilade Ekerefe, for attempting to call off their ongoing protest against the refusal of the Federal Government to inaugurate a substantive board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The lead Coordinator of ONDP, Kennedy Olorogun, said Ekerefe’s statement asking protesters to stop the ongoing action at 5pm on Friday was unfortunate, irresponsible and disappointing.
Olorogun said Ekerefe was labouring very hard to justify the selfish agreement he and a few executive members of the IYC reached with their paymaster in their recent Abuja outing against the collective interest and decision of the Niger Delta people.
He said Ekerefe lacked the powers to call off the protest adding that such mandate could only be exercised by the President of Council, Peter Timothy Igbifa.
Olorogun commended all the Niger Delta youths in Rivers, Bayelsa, Akwa Ibom and Delta states for remaining resolute and refusing to compromise the ongoing protest.
Olorogun said: “The President of the IYC, Deacon Peter Timothy Igbifa, called for this protest and all our youths in the Niger Delta obeyed and came out to participate in it. It is only our President Igbifa that has the authority to call off. Until he does that the protest will continue.
“We call on all our indefatigable youths to keep up the momentum and disregard the selfish statement emanating from the IYC Spokesman, Ebilade Ekerefe that the action should be suspended.
“Ekerefe has never been part of this protest. When it started, he and his co-travellers were in Abuja hobnobbing with their paymasters and having cashed out they have come to implement the agreement they reached with their paymasters on sabotaging our protest”.
Olorogun said the IYC President had directed that in the midst of the protest, a stakeholders’ meeting would be convened at Oporoza in Delta State to decide the way forward.
“All we are asking is the inauguration of a substantive board for the NDDC. The time is now and until that board is inaugurated we will not vacate the streets and roads of the Niger Delta. The likes of Ekerefe, who prefers pittance to sustainable development cannot be a clog in our wheel of progress”.