IYC accuses FG of always persecuting Ijaw leaders
The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has accused the Federal Government of always persecuting prominent Ijaw leaders who served the country at one time or the other.
It argued that the Federal Government had a penchant for witch- hunting Ijaw leaders, while shielding northerners involved in mega corruption from prosecution.
IYC stated this yesterday in a statement issued by its Spokesman, Ebilade Ekerefe, while reacting to the judgment of a Milan court that exonerated former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete from alleged fraud in the transfer of Oil Operating Licence (OML) 245 from Malabu to Shell and Eni.
Described the judgment as a vindication of Etete, Bayelsa and the Ijaw nation, it said: “The Federal Government is always looking for the slightest infraction to harass prominent Ijaw persons, who had opportunities at the federal level, while shielding northerners involved in mega corruption deals.”
Etete, who hails from Bayelsa State, was tried for over 36 months in the United Kingdom and Italy over alleged corruption in the Malabu oil deal.
But the Milan court dismissed the charges as baseless and ruled that Etete had no case to answer, insisting that the Malabu oil transfer settlement, agreements, negotiations and payments were transparent beyond reproach.
The IYC lamented that former Director-General, Department of State Services (DSS), Seiyefa Matthew, former NIMASA Boss, Patrick Akpobolomemi and Ijaw Leader, Government Ekpemukpolo (Tompolo) had also been treated unfairly.
Following the judgment, the group, therefore, urged the Federal Government to apologise to Etete, immediately return all his seized assets and restore all his rights and privileges, as a former minister in the country.
It insisted that the Etete’s case was clear evidence that the Federal Government was relentlessly persecuting Ijaw and Niger Delta people and commended Etete for standing up against the government to defend his integrity and origins.
“Other rising Niger Delta stars in federal service were either forced out of their jobs or denied opportunity to reach the peak of their careers.
“The war against corruption in the oil sector appears to be targeted at institutions and individuals from the Niger Delta region, particularly those of Ijaw extraction. We wonder why others involved in oil business from the North and other regions are not quizzed and prosecuted.
“We urge the Federal Government and President Muhammadu Buhari to tender an unreserved apology to Dan Etete for the physical, psychological and financial trauma the three years trial had taken on him and the Niger Delta people,” the group stated.
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