20 April 2017

Nigeria: IYC Crisis - Heavy Security As 10-Man Peace Committee Begins Sitting

Yenagoa — Security operatives wednesday continued to keep vigil at the Ijaw House, national headquarters of the Ijaw Youth Council, Worldwide (IYC), in Yenagoa, following the leadership tussle that has rocked the foremost youth group.

Several policemen and security vehicles were seen around the premises of the symbolic edifice which houses the council, a library named after the late Oronto Douglas, the Bayelsa State Ministry of Culture and Ijaw Affairs, among others.

The security operatives ensured that those going into the building and exiting were thoroughly frisked, especially after a recent violent clash between both factions.

THISDAY learnt on Wednesday that a 10-man Committee set up by the Bayelsa State Governor, Mr. Seriake Dickson, to resolve the succession struggle will begin sitting today (Thursday) at the venue.

The two warring factions are expected to attend the inaugural sitting of the committee led by a pioneer Chairman of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Chief Joshua Fumudoh, while a former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Ambassador Godknows Igali, will act as Secretary.

The National President of the IYC, Mr. Eric Omare, told THISDAY yesterday that he, along with his team, had fully prepared to attend the meeting, noting that he would wholeheartedly support any effort to end the leadership crisis.

Other members of the Committee are, Prof Dagogo Fubara; Vice Chairman, Prof. Nimi Briggs, Mr. E. I. E Etteh, Chief Nimi Adoki, Mrs. Rafi Suowari, Chief F. J. Williams and Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Austin Dressman.

According to Omare, a lawyer, who was handed over the leadership of the organisation by his successor, Mr. Udengs Eradiri, in March, all the contending parties must be prepared to embrace peace in the overall interest of the Ijaw people.

Omare also maintained that the reported violent clash between his group and the Pereotubo Oweilaemi-led faction during last week's birthday ceremony of Government Ekpemupolo, aka, Tompolo, in Delta State, was "exaggerated."

"The incident was reported out of proportion. What happened was that myself and my people were already seated at the venue for about three to four hours before they came in.

"They came in and were very violent and the people at the entrance of the hotel told them that they couldn't all go in because the venue was already filled.

"They reacted angrily and that was what led to the fracas. There was no use of guns as reported by the media," he said.

Dickson had told the committee to identify the root causes of the conflict between the factions in the council which led to the emergence of a parallel executive and liaise with both factions and all other stakeholders in the organisation.

"Anytime the tenure of an IYC is coming to an end, there is always crisis. This is not good enough," he said.

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