THE immediate past President of the Ijaw Youth Council, Worldwide, Comrade Udengs Eradiri has said that external forces were not only behind, but responsible for the activities of the militant group, particularly the Niger Delta Avenger.
Eradiri, who made the revelation in an interview in Yenagoa on Tuesday, said that even the Federal Government was aware of the whole scheme.
He faulted the government’s handling of the agitations of the militant group, saying that agitations in the region arose from long years of underdevelopment, neglect, lack of equity, insincerity, among other challenges.
Eradiri said though he did not believe in violent agitation, he supported the agitation by the Avengers, rationalising that agitation is the only language the government understands in this country.
He said to solve the agitations in the region, the government had to show more commitment and seriousness in addressing the causes of agitations.
The erstwhile IYC President stated, ”The government is not serious. All they want to do is blackmail some persons politically and dent people’s images. I am from this area and I know how it works. All I want is for everything to go well.
”I believe and I know that all this Avengers stuff and threats are external. They are fuelled by external forces; people who just want to disrupt things are behind it. Their thinking is that money will come out through negotiation. Even the government knows about it. It is all about destabilising things and stealing money from system.
”My advice to the youth is that they should continue to agitate. Yes, the only language that they understand is constant agitation. If they did not agitate, the Amnesty budget, you remember I was shouting it was N20bn down from N56bn.
”When the youth started agitation, it was moved to N35bn and now it is over N50bn and the Amnesty operators now have money to pay school fees and all of that. They were also shouting about the Niger Delta Ministry budget, now the government has increased it. When agitation started, we shouted about the Maritime University, they said they were going to kick off, now I am hearing President Muhammadu Buhari has approved N5bn in the new budget. So, if there is no agitation, will they do all these? So, let the youth agitate. Government, wake up to your responsibility.”
Speaking on the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum, the former IYC boss said PANDEF had lost focus and outlived its usefulness, insisting that the Federal Government did not need the organisation to address the Niger Delta question.
He said the PANDEF led by a foremost Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, though had set the template which the federal government is guided by, the group had become an embarrassment and a disgrace to the people of the region.
Eradiri stated, ”We have lost confidence in PANDEF. We no longer believe in them. I was part of those that brought up the idea when the government said they did not know whom to talk to in the region.
”We agreed to come together as one, hence we established PANDEF. But unfortunately, PANDEF has now lost focus. They are now talking about constitution and leadership. They have women’s wing, youths’ wing etc.
”At every point that we strive to make progress, we are the same persons to scatter it. Everyone is seeking an audience. Let those elders go and rest, particularly Clark. We have no elders to report to; they want to be the rulers, owning the power. They seek to overthrow the IYC and all others.
They want to be the leaders all because of the selfish gains they want to derive. PANDEF has lost its usefulness. The group is becoming an embarrassment and a disgrace to the Niger Delta. ”
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