Ijaw Struggle Goes International: INC’s Commitment to Global Recognition

Ijaw Struggle Goes International: INC's Commitment to Global

Ijaw Struggle Goes International: INC’s Commitment to Global Recognition

The Ijaw National Congress (INC) has persistently called for internationalizing the “Ijaw struggle,” urging concrete actions beyond mere rhetoric. Prof. Benjamin Okaba, the President of INC, emphasized this imperative during Bayelsa’s 2024 Ijaw National Day celebration.

Okaba highlighted the persistent grievances stemming from the mismanagement of Nigeria’s oil political economy, a historical issue that has fueled tensions between the late Maj. Adaka Boro and the federal government. These grievances, he noted, have endured and worsened over time, exacerbated by pervasive impunity.

Of particular concern is the dire environmental degradation inflicted upon Ijaw communities due to petroleum resource exploitation, characterized by uncontrollable spills, chronic flooding, and ocean encroachment. Despite these challenges, remediation efforts remain inadequate, leaving Ijaw territories heavily despoiled and neglected.

INC has consistently advocated for resource and environmental justice as foundational principles of the Ijaw agenda for self-determination. Central to this agenda is the demand for fair compensation for the region’s resources and sacrifices and the restoration of true federalism, including fiscal autonomy and devolution of power.

Furthermore, INC has articulated specific conditions for its continued commitment to the Nigerian project, including repealing discriminatory environmental and resource-related laws, remediating polluted environments, and relocating oil companies’ administrative headquarters to their operational bases in Ijaw territory.

The INC president also stressed the importance of proper funding and management of interventionist agencies such as the Presidential Amnesty Programme and Niger Delta Development Commission, as well as the promotion of modular refineries owned by the Ijaw people.

Additionally, Okaba called for equitable representation of Ijaw individuals in federal appointments and the equitable distribution of critical infrastructure to reflect the principles of federal character.

The theme of the 2024 Ijaw National Day, “Re-Invigorating Our Resolve to take the Ijaw struggle for Self-determination beyond Rhetoric,” underscores the pressing need to translate words into meaningful action and propel the Ijaw struggle onto the international stage. This theme encapsulates INC’s unwavering determination to pursue tangible outcomes and effect positive change for the Ijaw people.

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