The Ijaw ethnic nationality has joined the league of Nigerian ethnic groups clamouring for self determination.
This is coming barely 48 hours after those clamouring for Ibom Republic made a presentation to the United Nations.
The clamour for Ijaw Republic is being championed by the president of Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof Banjamin Okaba.
Professor Okaba, in a statement, lamented the years of injustice the Ijaw have suffered and the exploitation of oil resources without commensurate reward.
He said the country hinged on forced unity has appeared to outlive its usefulness, noting that the Ijaws are willing to leave as a distinct republic, not as part of any other secessionist agenda.
“As an ethnic nationality we wish to state that the Ijaw people are getting sick and tired of the incessant nepotism and lopsidedness which has become sign post of the present administration.
“We are indeed tired of the continued exploitation of our oil and gas resources without commensurate remediation and reward.
“We find it appalling that because of our revenue endowment the Federal Government has continued to expropriate our right to legitimate ownership and control of our oil and gas resources through obnoxious statutes.
“Yet, gold and other mineral resources discovered in Zamfara and other states are allowed to be freely exploited by the owner states. When shall this double standard end?” Prof Okada asked in the statement.
The INC president also decried that some ethnic groups in Nigeria are treated as more equal than others, saying terrorists in the north are treated with levity while other ethnic groups are ill-treated and dehumanized.
He said, “We also find it extremely unacceptable that in a country where we all are supposed to be equal, some persons are being treated as more equal than others.
“What defence has the National leadership in perpetually giving cover and protection to the marauding herdsmen who commit banditry, killing and maiming innocent Nigerians? Yet, innocent Ijaw people who detest these atrocities are gagged and lives invaded, emasculated and killed.
“Our Ijaw communities have become occupied territories by the Nigerian armed forces with no exercise of freedom. This has given fillip to the claims that there is a premeditated plan, well hatched and choreographed to overrun Nigeria.
“This appears to be the source of confidence and effrontery that embolden some folks to issue 72 hours threat to the Delta State Governor for daring to ban open grazing, a decision taken by all the Southern governors.
“Could it be true that because this offensive public declaration has the implicit support of the leadership of this country, no national leader nor senior government official has condemned such virulent statement?
“May be, the basis of our forced unity called Nigeria appears to have outlived its usefulness. Nobody negotiated with our forebears for the Ijaws to be part of this union called Nigeria.
“We were merely conscripted into the Nigeria union without the consent of our forebears. Fortunately, the historical truth is that we, Ijaw people, have never been conquered by anybody. And we shall NOT be.
“Since the fragile unity that was predicated on the pillars of justice, equity and fairness has been completely jettisoned, and the leaders of the country rather than pacify those agitating for justice and equity, feel comfortable resorting to threats like “we know what to do,” the Ijaws have become reprehensive and afraid of being part of an unworkable union.
“Having endured the unsavory treatments and crude exploitations over the years, and the noted resolve of the present-day leaders to continue their stranglehold on the Ijaw people through more obnoxious laws (the water resources bill sponsored by the Buhari administration) our faith in the Nigerian union has been grossly eroded.
“The Ijaw nation, conscious of our desire to live in a country where our rights to live peacefully and apply our God endowed talents and resources for our collective improvement and well-being, no longer feel safe to be part of a country where inequality, inequity and nepotism and impunity have become defining principles of governance.
“Rather than continue to sacrifice and carry the burdens of an unappreciative Nigeria nation, WE WISH TO STATE WITHOUT EQUIVOCATION our resolve for SELF DETERMINATION.
“We are prepared to legally and peacefully negotiate our exit like other aggrieved ethnic nationalities but also as a distinct IJAW REPUBLIC with ethno-linguistic, cultural affinity and geographic contiguity and not in part or full of any other secessionist agenda.