By Ben Dunno, Warri
A group, Coalition of Niger Delta Youths, yesterday, threatened to shut down oil facilities belonging to various multi-national oil companies in the region if government fails to revert to N65 per litre in line with the yearnings of the majority of the Nigerian masses.
The Coalition comprising of the Ijaws of the Niger-Delta, the Itsekiris, Urhobos, Isokos and the Igbo speaking part of Delta State, gathered in their thousands in Warri to stage the peaceful protest, as they marched round some major streets in the area obstructing traffic while chanting anti- Jonathan songs.
Some of the placards carried by the youths have inscriptions such as, ‘Jonathan, don’t impoverish Nigerians,’ ‘Nigeria’s major problem is corruption not subsidy,’ ‘Niger- Delta Youths reject subsidy removal,’ ‘Federal Government tackle insecurity, poverty, hunger,’ ‘Federal Government rehabilitate Nigeria’s refineries now,’ among others.
The leader of the Niger-Delta Youth Coalition, Chief Michael Johnny, said they are against the removal of fuel subsidy because the president left some teething issues that bother on security to be pursuing policies that would bring hardship upon the citizenry of this country.
‘What we are saying is no to fuel subsidy removal. The reason why we are saying no to fuel subsidy is that Nigerians were not part of this decision. The economy is bad. We were paying N1,000.00 for transportation from Warri to our villages in the creek but now we are paying N10,000.00. You cannot say removal of fuel subsidy is to help the poor and it is the poor people that are suffering it.’
‘We are giving President Jonathan 24 hours ultimatum to reverse the pump price to N65 and failure to do so, we will go back to our communities and when we go back to our communities, we will ensure that all the oil installations in the creek is made not to work.
The president said he has come up with alternative to cushion the effect of the removal on the masses. The alternative did not go down well with Nigerians. Our oil accounts for over 90 per cent of the financial resources of this country and yet there is nothing to show for it here.
Let the president know that if he fails to reverse the pump price we are going to shut down oil production in this part of the country,’ Chief Michael Johnny warned.
Also speaking, the Secretary of Unemployed Graduates in Delta State, Comrade Agbefa Ogoloyiyo, said the removal of fuel subsidy was repugnant to natural justice because it was going to bring great pains and suffering to the people of Nigeria.
He added that President Jonathan has betrayed the trust the people of the Niger-Delta had on him that made them to vote for him during the last elections. ‘Our stand is that the subsidy should not be removed’.