A leading Ijaw activist, Oweikeye Endoro, has said the struggle for Ijaw advancement driven by the Ijaw Youth Council, IYC, is not about secession from Nigeria as clearly noted in the historic Kaiama Declaration, KD, of 1998.
Endoro, who is a presidential candidate for the forthcoming IYC elections, said in Warri, yesterday, those wrong perceptions of the Ijaw/Niger Delta struggle had hampered national understanding of the objective of the struggle which was self-determination, resource control and social justice within Nigeria.
According to him: “I read the condemnation of Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, who said in Sultan’s Palace, Sokoto, that Niger Delta leaders stand by Nigeria whose unity is non-negotiable. For me, Governor Wike’s comment is within the tenets of the Kaiama Declaration accepted as a working document of the Ijaw nation.” Pointing to article 10 of the Kaiama Declaration, Endoro said: “
We agreed to remain within Nigeria but to demand and work for self-government and resource control for the Ijaw people. The federation should be run on the basis of equality and social justice. Having agreed to remain in Nigeria, we cannot work towards its dismemberment but seek self-determination, resource control, and social justice therein for the good of all Nigerians.
Nigerians should not misconstrue ‘self-determination’ enshrined in the Kaiama Declaration as a secession bid. The Ijaw ethnic nation, the fourth largest in Nigeria, is unfortunately balkanised into minorities in several states where they are politically subjugated by minor ethnic groups.”
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