Eastern-Zone of the IYC take over the headquarters of NDDC in Portharcourt, Rivers State in the Day2 protest against NDDC and Akpabio all over the Niger Delta
Protesting IYC members shut down a flow station, the East-West Road and NDDC state offices in Bayelsa and Delta. Travellers had a rough time on the Eastwest Road, the major gateway linking the Southsouth to other parts of the country.
At the Bayelsa office of the NDDC, the protesters, mostly youths, hung IYC’s flag on the main entrance gate after chasing away the workers.
The tension caused by the protest was heightened by a fresh IYC threat to shut down the entire Niger Delta and the disappearance of the group’s President, Peter Igbifa. Igbifa was reportedly whisked to an unknown place by masked gunmen.
The IYC leader was said to be on his way to the International Airport, Port Harcourt, on Tuesday to board a flight to Abuja when the gunmen blocked his vehicle, seized and took him away. His whereabouts were unknown as of press time yesterday.
Before the incident, Igbifa had in a short video ordered the youth to proceed with the protest, expressing premonition that he could either be kidnapped, arrested, or killed.
The IYC had given a 30-day ultimatum, which expired Tuesday for the Federal Government and the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs to constitute the board for the NDDC or risk a total shutdown of the Niger Delta.
It also directed oil companies operating in the area to evacuate their employees, saying they would no longer guarantee their safety.
The protesters in Bayelsa State had first shut the NDDC office in Yenagoa before heading to the East-West Road where they barricaded the Mbiama section for several hours. Mbiama is a boundary community between Rivers and Bayelsa states.
Insisting on a substantive board for the NDDC, the protesters said a sole administrator running the commission was like a one-man show.
The IYC members also expressed displeasure with Niger Delta Affairs Minister Godswill Akpabio, and called for his immediate resignation.
Some placards displayed by them read ‘Restructure Nigeria Now!’, ‘IOCs (International Oil Companies) must not remit $1.6billion to NDDC Now!’, ‘We seek Justice in NDDC Now!’ and ‘FG should appoint a substantive board in NDDC now.”
They accused the Federal Government of being behind what they called a ”state-sponsored “abduction of IYC leader Igbifa.
The national leadership of the IYC later issued a statement in which it advised the protesters not to allow criminally- sponsored elements to infiltrate them.
The protesters were led to Mbiama by a former Chairman of the IYC (Central zone), Kennedy Olorogun, a priest of Egbesu, Bodmas Kemepado, and other youth leaders such as Patrick Ipidei.
There was, however, a mild drama when some armed soldiers arrived and attempted to disperse the protesters, who insisted that they would only vacate the road if Igbifa gave the directive.
In Delta, the protesters closed down the Batan flow station in Diebiri, a riverine community in Warri Southwst Local Government Area.
The flow station is under Oil Mining Lease (OML) 42 and operated by Neconde Energy Limited.
“We just shut down the Batan Flow Station in Diebiri clan,” IYC Secretary-General Frank Pukon said via an SMS to The Nation last night.
Pukon led the protesters with two other national officers from the Western zone of the IYC.
The protesters, clad in red t-shirts and IYC mufflers, had earlier stormed and closed the NDDC office in Edjeba, Warri South Local Government Area.