The pan-Ijaw socio-cultural organisation, Ijaw National Congress (INC), on Friday, said only true federalism in the ongoing constitutional review would address their concerns in Nigeria.
Benjamin Okaba, the president of the INC, made this assertion while speaking with reporters on Friday in Yenagoa, the capital city of Bayelsa State
He said the minorities which produced the resources to develop the country have remained neglected over the years.
Mr Okaba, a professor of Sociology at the Federal University, Otuoke, advocated the restoration of true federalism under a new constitution, enacted by the people, with a clean exclusive legislative list prescribed for the federal tier of government.
He said it was regrettable that Ijaw land and the Niger Delta region were the only place in the entire world where oil and gas were produced but have remained impoverished, neglected and underdeveloped.
He said the retreat from militancy to constructive engagement was yet to yield results, adding that the choice of civilised engagement should not be misconstrued for cowardice.
Mr Okaba equally called for the repeal of all obnoxious and discriminatory laws and policies that have “continuously undermined” the fundamental human and environmental rights of the Ijaw people.
The INC president said the delay in the construction of the East-West Road was a “typical pointer” to the neglect of the “goose that lays the golden egg.”
He said their current resolve for self-determination and self-actualisation could only be reversed if urgent steps are taken to address the conditions to guarantee the continued commitment of the Ijaws to the Nigerian project.