The Ijaw National Congress (INC), said the 1914 British amalgamation of ethnic nationalities by the British colonialists has since expired.
The congress said in a communiqué at the end of a two-day summit in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, that it has therefore decided that the Ijaw nation would initiate the process of re-negotiating its co-existence with other nationalities in the country.
The meeting came barely hours after Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria’s immediate past President, relinquished power on Friday, May 29, 2015 to Muhammadu Buhari, winner of the March 28, 2015 Presidential election.
According to the communiqué issued at the end of the summit, which had as theme: ‘The Ijaw Agenda Beyond 2015,’ made available Monday, “the cession treaties between the Ijaw and British colonial authorities have lapsed and that the instrument of amalgamation of 1914 that produced the country Nigeria expired in 2014.”
Rejecting laws and regulations that deny the Ijaw people control of their resources, the INC expressed regret over the refusal of successive administrations to unite the Ijaws in homogenous states.
The communiqué signed by the INC chairman, Boma Obuoforibo and 30 others, further stressed that “the Ijaw Question predates Nigeria and the current structure of the Nigerian State is lopsided in favour of the majority ethnic nationalities without adequate socio-political and economic space for the minority ethnic nationalities.”
The group agreed at the end of the summit attended by over 1,500 men, women and youths, participated at the summit, that ethnic nationalities in the country “should form the basis of a true Nigerian federation.”
The apex Ijaw socio-cultural body, also condemned the present constitutional and legislative arrangements for resource control and allocation, adding that resource-bearing communities in true federations and the civilised world control their resources.
It noted that in spite of the adverse impact of crude oil and gas exploration and exploitation on Ijaw land, the Federal Government had yet to address the negative effects on health, economy, culture and environment.
INC further argued that the restiveness in the region was the people’s reaction to oppression and frustrations, stressing that the militarisation of the area had resulted in severe erosion of their cherished values as a people.
The summit, however, thanked Nigerians for the support and solidarity they gave the immediate past President, Goodluck Jonathan even “in the heated ambiance of the 2015 general elections”.