Ijaw leaders, on Saturday, called on the federal government to withdraw its troops from all occupied Ijaw land while decrying the destruction of oil installation by Niger Delta militants.
The elders made this known during its consultative council meeting with the Bayelsa governor, Seriake Dickson and Delta deputy governor, Kingsley Otuaro, in Warri, Delta state where they called for the immediate restructuring of Nigeria to reflect for true federalism.
Speaking at the meeting, the Ijaw national leader, Edwin Clark, noted that the ongoing dialogue between the federal government and some militants will not yield any positive result without the involvement of Ijaw leaders.
Clark said, “In 2008 and 2009 similar incident happened and Gbaramatu was affected. We elders and leaders intervened and we got Amnesty.
“Today we hear that federal government is planning, already talking or negotiating with militants and nobody has consulted us.
“That will not work. These children are our children and we cannot fold our hands when they are being attacked and pretend not to notice.
“We must be involved in what government wants to do.”
A communique issued by the group after its meeting reads: “The Elders and Leaders of thoughts of the Ijaw nation call for the immediate restructuring of the Nigerian nation along the lines of peaceful federalism.
“As panacea for the sustainable development of Nigeria. As a demonstration of sincerity of commitment to dialogue, FG should immediately withdraw the military from all occupied Ijaw communities, particularly Gbaramatu kingdom.’’
“The meeting also condemn the move to scrap the Nigerian Maritime University approved by the preceding FG with temporary site at Kurutie and call for the immediate takeoff of the university.
“The forum also urged the militant groups of the Niger Delta to cease further attacks on crude oil and gas facilities and embrace the dialogue offered by the federal government.’’