Angry youths on Wednesday took to the streets of Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital, to protest against an unfair treatment meted on the Niger Delta region by the Federal Government.
The youths displaying placards with varying inscriptions, marched from the popular Tombia roundabout and converged on the Ekeki Park, urging all Niger Delta indigenes to join the protest in demanding for full resource control and restructuring of Nigeria.
Apostle Bodmas Kemepadei, Leader of the Egbesu Brotherhood who spoke for the protesters, stated that while Nigeria’s problems are of various degrees, the Niger Delta was suffering huge underdevelopment and neglect.
He blamed Nigeria’s woes on the colonial masters, saying it was evil of them to merge the country despite know what the outcome would be.
He called on President Muhammadu Buhari to 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.
Kemepadei added that the amalgamation experiment had obviously failed its test.
“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 her gold, why can’t we? We want oil companies to relocate to their host communities.
“President Muhammadu 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 have been wasted on agriculture, refineries, education, infrastructure, with little or nothing to be proud of.
“President Muhammadu Buhari should not be blamed. Neither he nor any other that may replace him can solve the problems; Nigerians should rather be bold enough to appeal to the United Nations to prevail on Mr. President to call for a national dialogue of the different ethnic groups comprising traditional rulers, stakeholders and youth leaders where they can conduct a vote for restructuring of this country, resource control and other issues as the convention may agree.”
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 for some respite.