We Will Not Be Intimidated By Your Outburst – Ijaw Leaders Fire Obasanjo

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Obasanjo's Oil Ownership Statement Unfair, Inflammatory, PANDEF, Others Kick
Obasanjo's Oil Ownership Statement Unfair, Inflammatory, PANDEF, Others Kick

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been criticized by Ijaw leaders under the umbrella of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) for statements on resource control, accusing him of intimidating the INC’s national secretary, Ebipamowei Wodu.

An impassioned outburst by Obasanjo against Wodu during the latter’s presentation of the Ijaw perspective at a discussion organized by the Global Peace Foundation in cooperation with Vision Africa at the Transcorp Hilton Abuja went viral recently.

“As long as Nigeria is together, whatever that is under the ground is given to all Nigerians by God,” Obasanjo was quoted as saying.

In a news conference held at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital on Friday, INC President Prof Benjamin Okaba, surrounded by other leaders of the Ijaw people, said Obasanjo’s comments on the Ijaw nation were a joke gone too far.

Obasanjo and his ilk, he claims, have repeatedly refused the Ijaw nation their rights, claiming that “we cannot be intimidated, hushed and harassed into moronic silence”.

Okaba, who dismissed Obasanjo’s resource control argument, challenged him to say the same thing about the gold and bitumen in Zamfara and Ondo, adding that “we consider his claim on resource control ownership as pernicious, provocative, oppressive and wicked.”

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The INC accused Obasanjo of harbouring hatred for the Ijaw people, which he demonstrated in his treatment of them.

“Obasanjo has not visited any oil and gas related polluted sites across Ijaw land and the Niger Delta region to appreciate firsthand the enormity of environmental degradation and calamity suffered by the people with attendant epidemics, health challenges and lack of access to social amenities.

“We are not surprised at the hatred of the former President for the Ijaw and the Niger Delta people as he demonstrated a huge dose of this towards Ijaw people when he, in a supposed democracy, in 1999 ordered armed soldiers to invade an Ijaw community, Odi in Bayelsa State

“The ‘Odi massacre as known in the annals of Nigerian political history will remain unforgettable in the memories of generations of Ijaw people.”

He described the attack on the INC national scribe as an attack on the Ijaw and the Niger Delta, and said Obasanjo’s rant should serve as a wake-up call to other persecuted minorities in Nigeria about the vast resource plot “against us and our environment.”

As a result, Okaba asked that Obasanjo rescind “his misplaced anger and apologise to the Ijaw and the Niger Delta people, who, undeniably had been feeding him, his state and the Nigerian state over the years.”

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