Gunmen kidnap IYC president in Rivers
Gunmen have kidnapped the President of the Ijaw Youths Council, Worldwide, Peter Igbifa, in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
It was learnt that Igbifa was kidnapped on Tuesday morning along the Port Harcourt International Airport Road by a group of armed masked men.
Though details of his abduction were still sketchy, it was gathered that the IYC president had sent a message to his driver informing of his abduction.
Confirming the incident to journalists in Port Harcourt, Igbifa’s personal driver, Wisdom Emmanson, said the IYC President was whisked away at gunpoint adding that some of the abductors were masked and wielded guns associated with secret police officers.
Meanwhile, when contacted, the Spokesman Rivers State Police Command, Nnamdi Omoni, said the command is yet to confirm the incident and promised to get back to our correspondent.
The incident is coming less than 24 hours to the expiration of the ultimatum given by IYC to the Federal Government to constitute a substantive board of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
It is feared that his abduction is connected with the proposed protest.
The source stated that Igbifa in his last words to his personal driver said ”though I am kidnapped but tell the people that the protest must hold, nobody can infringe on the right of Niger Delta people.”
Recall that on April 26, 2021, IYC Worldwide, issued a one-month ultimatum to the Federal Government to appoint, screen and inaugurate board members for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), threatening massive protests that would lock down the region.
The Congress rose from its national expanded executive and stakeholders’ meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where it frowned at the slow pace of work on the East-West road and urged the government to hasten the completion of the project.
Igbifa had then, said all the stakeholders at the meeting unanimously condemned the deployment of sole administration to manage the affairs of the NDDC describing it as strange to the law establishing the commission.
He stressed the importance of the commission to the Niger Delta and warned that if the government failed to inaugurate the board the youths would shut down and occupy the entire region.
He said: “At the moment we have looked into the issue of NDDC for which council has resolved that we are giving President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government a one-month ultimatum to inaugurate the board of the NDDC.
“We consider the NDDC a critical agency to this region and for this cause, we want to make it clear that between now and one month, if the board is not brought in we may not be able to guarantee the safety of oil workers operating in the region.
“Council will definitely shut down the entire region if Mr President fails to deliver within one month from today. This message must be taken very seriously.”
Igbifa said the activities that would follow the shutting down of the region would be tensed, adding that the development might give way for the people to take over their resources.
The IYC boss went on: “I said it that #EndSARS will be a child’s play compared to shutting down the region. When we say we are shutting down, there will be no activity and that is the major reason in our meeting. We have advised our people to begin to stockpile food.
“We are going to lock down activities in the region. There will be no movement and that is the reason we said we can’t guarantee the safety of oil workers at that point.
“That is why we gave one month time, ample time for the government to set the board screen and inaugurate them. When we shut down the region, our people will take over the economy”.
Igbifa explained that the board was mandatory because the Act establishing the NDDC provides that each state must have a representation in the running of the commission.
“It means that these people, who man the board will do justice to the development of these various states. The NDDC can only operate in the eyes of the law if a board represented by the states in the region is put in place,” he said.
Igbifa regretted the delays in the completion of the forensic audit of the commission and asked for an immediate end to the audit process.
He said: “They have made the forensic audit of the NDDC look bigger than that of the NNPC. The board alone has a lot to do with the youths. Before now the youths were surviving with different capacity programmes rolled out by the NDDC boards.
“But the youths have been suffering since this current administration of NDDC that is not known to the law was put in place.
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