TRACKING >>The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has appealed to Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) give priority to qualified Ijaw persons in the ongoing recruitment exercise of the corporation.
Speaking in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital, the IYC Secretary-General, Alfred Kemepado, warned against hijacking the employment announced recently by NNPC.
Kemepado said it would amount to injustice and unfairness for the Ijaw people, who suffer pains of oil exploration and exploitation, to be marginalised in the ongoing process.
He said: “Recently you may have discovered that NNPC made a publication for qualified people to apply for various positions in NNPC and applications were made around the nation and as Ijaws as qualified and competent as we are, most of us also applied to be given those jobs.
“But sad information reaching us is that the Presidency has hijacked the process of recruitment and that our people, the Ijaw people are being sidelined and we find that very offensive for many reasons.
“One of the reasons is that we cannot continue to dwell in a nation where they come around the Niger Delta especially in the Ijaw territory drill the oil, take the oil and sustain this country called Nigeria and leave us here in the Niger Delta with the associated diseases such as leukemia and the degraded environment but when there is opportunity for employment, our people are always sidelined, marginalised and not considered at all. We find that very offensive”.
Describing the situation as intolerable, Kemepado appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and the new General Managing Director of NNPC to look into the issue and consider qualified Ijaw for the existing job opportunities.
“We appeal to the Presidency and the new GMD to look into this issue and ensure that ijaw people who applied for those positions, whom we know are qualified for these positions should be considered and not sidelined by one list from the Presidency.
“If that really happens we will take it as an insult. From the inception of this government, we have been provoked many times. The time the presidency came to this Niger Delta it promised us that companies would relocate to the Niger Delta. We did not see that happen. But we frown at this one and we are calling on the presidency to have a rethink and do what is right”.
Kemepado said the IYC also heard that following the appointment of the new NDDC boss, the corporation would be restructured and called on the Federal Government to considered Ijaw people during the process.
He said Ijaw people had been trained in the oil sector through various interventionist programmes from the Amnesty Office, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and other scholarship schemes sponsored by the government.
“They are qualified with local and foreign certificates. So nobody can doubt the competence of the Ijaw people. Therefore, the country should not continue to provoke this region. As Ijaw youth council in conjunction with the elders, we have done our beat to keep the peace in this region.
“Let us make it abundantly clear here that the peace that present Muhammadu Buhari has enjoyed for the past four years and the peace that unfortunately he is enjoying that has resulted to the continuous flow of oil is not as a result of what this government is doing for the people of the Niger Delta.
“It is only as a result of our resolve as a people to keep the peace here with the hope that in situation like this, our people will not continue to be sidelined and I don’t want the presidency to push its luck too far and further provoke our people.
“This country cannot afford the provocation of this region and we also do not intend to request for anything more than equity and anything more than justice. We know that there are other issues like the Maritime University Bill that is still waiting on the President’s table to sign. We call on him to sign it.
“We all know that the East-West road is unattended to. The Brass LNG is unattended to including other issues in the region. But now what is most pressing and most disrespectful to us is the issue of the NNPC and we want the presidency to include our people”.
Also speaking IYC Chairman, Central Zone, Kennedy Olorogun, said the zine was bothered by the issue of employment ad appealed to the presidency to use the NNPC employment to make up for the neglect of the Ijaw.
He said the youths had decided to embrace peace but warned against actions capable of provoking them into violence.