Friday, March 20, 2015 2:20 pm
Ilaje youths in Ondo State, western Nigeria are angry with President Goodluck Jonathan for refusing to include them in the recent oil pipeline contract awarded to some Nigerians.
Several of them protested their non-inclusion in the pipeline security and protection contract released to the oil producing states of the Niger-Delta by the Federal Government and even threatened not to vote for the President in the election that is just few days away.
The peaceful protest which held at ‘Agbala Afin’ in the Kofawe area of Igbokoda, Ondo State, had youths from Ugbo, Aheri, Mahin and Etikan in attendance.
While singing solidarity songs and brandishing leaves to show their displeasure at how Ilaje community has been short changed in the pipeline security contract, the youths had placards that showed inscriptions such as: “We say no to empowerment politics,” “Ilaje makes Ondo state the oil producing state that it is,” and “ Where is our pipeline security contract in Ilaje?”
Other inscriptions like “If FG denies us our right, we shall deny them our votes,” “No empowerment, no election in Ilaje” were also boldly show-cased by the irate protesters.
A youth leader and ex-Niger-Delta militant of the Ilaje extraction, General Timi Ogundere, berated the Federal Government for committing such a costly oversight.
In a voice laden with anger and disappointment, he condemned a situation where Ilaje would produce the oil and when it comes to empowerment, the Ijaws of Ese – Odo would be the sole beneficiaries.
He said Federal Government should not start another round of Ilaje/Ijaw crisis by giving the Ijaws what rightfully belongs to the Ilaje nation.
“We are using the medium of this protest to tell President Jonathan that if he wants our votes in the coming general election, he should provide us with our own slot of the pipeline security contract,” ex-militant General Timi Ogundere said.
Other speakers at the protest including Benson Uroaye, Demehin Gbenga, Sola Obebe and Niyi Mafimisebi unanimously demanded the inclusion of the people of Ilaje in the pipeline security contract, stressing that Ilaje is the goose that lays the golden egg and thus could not “afford to look on while this grievous in justice is perpetrated against them.”
President Goodluck Jonathan’s government, days ago, just released a N9 billion pipeline security contract to the oil producing states of Nigeria, out of which Ondo State is one on the basis of large deposit of oil in the coastal waters of Ilaje in the state’s South Senatorial District.