TRACKING_____The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has accused the Federal Government of perpetuating double standard and injustice by allowing artisanal mining of gold in the North, especially Zamafara State, and forbidding a similar practice in crude oil in the Niger Delta region.

President of IYC, Dcn. Peter Timothy Igbifa, in a statement in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, observed that in the North, where there are gold and precious stones, the locals and indigenes were mining them unmolested to enrich themselves.

He said, “But it is illegal in the Niger Delta to engage in artisanal exploration of the vast hydrocarbon deposits in their area. If you say it is double standard, applying two different sets of rules in the same country, it is an understatement.

“It is the height of injustice that the people of Niger Delta have been forced to live with since 1914. Several attempts have been made to re-negotiate our continuous existence as an indivisible entity but to no avail.

“Some powerful entrenched interest group feeding fat on the skewed and debilitating Nigerian project have resisted every genuine effort for the complete overhauling and dismantling of the self – destructive Nigerian enterprise.”

Igbifa said the country had continued to be shouldered by Niger Delta, particularly the Ijaw communities while the government kept ignoring the minimum demand of the people for restructuring and resource control.

Igbifa insisted that the clamour for restructuring, self – determination and resource control had become a duty adding that to avoid an implosion the country must undergo restructuring.

He said, “Gold, diamond and other precious stones found in large quantities in the north are owned, enjoyed and utilized by northerners. Oil and Gas fields ancestral to Niger Deltans are shared by all Nigerians. How long are we going to sustain this corrupt and unjust system?

“The rest of the world are moving on. Even in the most perverse and autocratic state, the laws are not stymied to prevent the people from reaching the heights they aspire to, individually and collectively.

“But in Nigeria, it is a different kettle of fish. Each passing day, the hypocrisy of the Nigerian State is coming to the fore. While the Niger Delta has continued to shoulder the huge burden of the Nigerian State by sharing the wealth of region to every part of the country. The North has continued to enjoy its huge solid mineral deposits alone”.

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