The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has distant itself and the Ijaw nation from that fictitious map claiming Ijaw territories as been part of Biafra for there was never a time we were Biafrans.
IYC is worried by several malicious and thought provoking attempts and by pro-Biafra groups like the Movement for the Actualisation of a Sovereign State Of Biafra (MASSOB) and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) to include Ijaw territories in the maps of Biafra without proper consultations and consent of the Ijaw ethnic nationality.
The Old Eastern region was also a contraption that so much enslaved the Ijaw people that was created by those who created this miscarriage of a State called Nigerian.
It should be noted that the Ijaws are not in any way against the genuine aspirations of all peoples including the IPOB to attain self-determination or secession as the case may be.
Ijaws are a distinct ethnic nation even before the 1914 amalgamation that has its own dreams, wishes and aspirations that should not be submerged as footnotes in any other people’s struggle.
We Ijaw people are not Biafrans.
Therefore if or when any Ijaw person or group feel a sense of allegiance to Biafra and speak in its favour, let it be known that such statements are the personal opinions of such persons, which does not reflect the thoughts, views and wishes of the entire Ijaw Nation and the Niger Delta people.
The Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide through the National Spokesman Daniel Williams Dasimaka issued this strict warning to all the overzealous and misinformed IPOB members to desist from insulting our respected Elders and critical stakeholders especially our mother in the Niger Delta, Madam Annkio Briggs who have dedicated so much of her life, time, resources and energy for the past 19 years agitating for the economic and the environmental freedom of the people of Niger Delta.
The drivers of IPOB should therefore call their followers to order for such act of bigotry will no longer be tolerated from anybody or group of persons.
For the records, the Ijaw struggle for Self-Determination predates the Biafra agitation.
It is a known historical fact that a year before the world got to hear of the term Biafra Republic, Ijaws led by late Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro of blessed memory declared a Niger Delta Republic in pursuit of the emancipation of the Niger Delta people which the progenitor of Biafran Late Col Ojukwu of blessed memory fought against as the then Governor of the Old Eastern region when the going was going good with him in the Nigerian State.
It is also on record that a year before MASSOB was founded; the IYC through the Kaiama Declaration affirmed ‘our commitment to joint struggle with the other ethnic nationalities in the Niger delta area for self-determination.
We expressed our solidarity with all peoples organisations and ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and elsewhere who are struggling for self-determination and justice.
In particular [we mean] IPOB, the struggle of the Oodua peoples Congress (OPC), the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP), Egi Women’s Movement, etc.’
Thus our struggle cannot be submerged into the Biafra agitation that came after ours.
Our position has not changed. We Ijaws stand for self-determination in the Nigerian federation.
We stand for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference of equally represented ethnic nationalities to discuss the nature of a democratic federation of Nigerian ethic nationalities or a Referendum to decide our future in this amalgamated marriage.
As our founding fathers noted in 1998, ‘but for the economic interests of the imperialists, the Ijaw ethnic nationality would have evolved as a distinct and separate sovereign nation, enjoying undiluted political, economic, social, and cultural AUTONOMY’.
Thus we call on our Biafran brothers to respect our identity. Any attempt to lump Ijaws into Biafra without the genuine consent of Ijaws is not only an insult but a futile attempt at replicating the oppression in Nigeria Biafrans claim to resist.
Spokesman, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide
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