Ijaws not part of Biafra – IYC warns Simon Ekpa

The umbrella body of Ijaw youths, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has called out agitator, Simon Ekpa.


IYC warned him not to include Niger Delta as part of Biafra.


The IYC made the assertion in response to an online video on X (Twitter) by Simon Ekpa, a Biafran crusader in exile claiming that Ijaws are part of Biafran state.


In a statement on Friday by the national spokesman for IYC, Amb. Binebai Yerin Princewill, the foremost Ijaw group said the Ijaw people would not tolerate any other reckless comment about their people and territories belonging to the Biafra. 


Princewill said: “The attention of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has been drawn to a strange video by one Simon Ekpa, who is from the eastern part of Nigeria, now masquerading as the leader of Biafra in exile. “In the said video posted on X, he tried to  establish  Ijaw territories as part of his imaginary Biafra state. 


“In the said video, Ekpa expressed the point that  Nigerian soldiers attacked his Biafra people and Biafra republic. He was simply referring to the Okuama attack in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State on March 14, 2024 wherein 17 soldiers were killed and the subsequent onslaught carried out by the military on Igbomotoru and Peremabiri, Ijaw communities in Bayelsa State. 


“The fundamental claim the renegade Biafra nationalist is making is that both Okuama community in Delta and Igbomotoru  in Bayelsa state are part of his purported Biafran State. He thus threatened  to unleash mayhem on Nigerian soldiers to avenge the death of civilians who had lost their lives in the military onslaught.”


However, the IYC spokesman said the Council was already dealing with a lot of issues regarding the attack on the soldiers and the subsequent invasion of Ijaw communities by the military, resulting in the loss of many lives. 


He noted that the Ijaw people had never at any point in time been part of Biafra and can never be part of Biafra. 


Princewill reiterated: “The attack on the soldiers has been condemned and it remains condemned just as the IYC  has also charged the military to go after only the criminals and not killing of innocent people which we have also condemned in Igbomotoru and Peremabiri. 


“For the purpose of clarity, the IYC is putting the records straight that the Ijaw struggle for a better living condition in Nigeria is older than the so-called Biafra agitation. 


“Our late Ijaw hero and foremost nationalist, late Major Isaac Adaka Boro, who is regarded as a champion of minority rights movement in Nigeria, declared the ‘Niger Delta Republic’ on February 23, 1966 a year before late Chief Odumegwu Ojukwu who was the then Governor of the Eastern Region declared the Biafra Republic on May 30, 1967.


“As Ijaw people, we are Nigerians, original occupants, and dwellers of the Niger Delta region. We  reiterate that no part of Niger Delta belongs to their so-called imaginary Biafra.


“The struggle of the Ijaw people is majorly in resource control and not a secessionist movement. We have our own struggles, and the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) also has their own separate struggle. The Ijaws are not part of their Biafran struggle and ideology.”


He said while the IYC was not opposed to the IPOB agitation, the Ijaws remain law-abiding people in the Nigerian State. 


Princewill warned that going forward, the Ijaws would not tolerate watching Biafrans laying claims to their territories.


The spokesman insisted: “We are Ijaw people. We are Nigerians in the  Niger Delta. We don’t have any ties or whatever with the Biafran people and their agitation. 


“Finally, the IYC is using this medium to inform the Federal Government of Nigeria and the Nigerian military that all the areas mentioned are not part of Biafra and can never be part of Biafra. IYC will not allow any purported attack on the military in our territories.”


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