YOUTHS in Bayelsa State on Wednesday took to the streets of Yenagoa, the capital, to protest alleged unfair treatment meted out to the people of the state and the Niger Delta by the Federal Government.
They marched from the popular Tombia roundabout and converged on the Ekeki Park, calling on the people of the region to join the protest to demand resource control and a restructured Nigeria.
While the protest, which took some hours lasted, there was a gridlock on the popular Yenagoa-Mbiama road, forcing commercial drivers and motorists to make detour through the Isaac Boro expressway to have some respite.
With the hashtag #resourcecontrolnow, the youth also asked President Muhammadu Buhari to as a matter of urgency convene a national dialogue among traditional rulers, stakeholders and youth leaders, among others, from the various ethnic groups to curtail the rising tension in the region.
Spokesman for the protesting youths and a disciple of the Egbesu National Ijaw God, Apostle Bodmas Kemepadei, said though Nigeria’s problems were multifaceted, the Niger Delta people were suffering underdevelopment and neglect.
He blamed the colonial masters for Nigeria’s woes, saying that they were wicked in their decision to merge the country with the unpleasant consequences being witnessed currently in Nigeria.
Adding that the amalgamation experiment had obviously failed its test, Kemapadei said: “The myriad of problems facing this country calls for total restructuring. We call on all Niger Deltans to join this protest. Nigeria can only get better when all regions are allowed to have control of their wealth. If Zamfara State can be allowed to sell its gold, why can’t we? We want oil companies to relocate to their host communities.
“President Buhari, like every other Nigerian, is a victim of an erroneous amalgamation. This is why even after 60 years of independence, the country is yet to attain any feat. We have been on the path of civil war, political and ethnic crises. Even with enormous wealth deposits found in different parts of the nation, we are still divided along ethnic, religious and regional lines. These are clear indications that people were forced to be part of this entity now called Nigeria. Billions of naira have been wasted on agriculture, refineries, education, infrastructure, with little or nothing to be proud of.”