By Samuel Tombra, Yenagoa 

Diplomats from the British High Commission in Abuja, have held discussions with the leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) over recent disturbances and attacks on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region. 

British envoys meet Ijaw youth leader over pipeline vandalism

By Samuel Tombra, Yenagoa 

Diplomats from the British High Commission in Abuja, have held discussions with the leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) over recent disturbances and attacks on oil pipelines in the Niger Delta region. 

 

The visiting diplomats met with the President of the IYC, Mr. Udens Eradiri, on Wednesday at the Headquarters of the council in Ijaw House, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State capital. 

The Head, African Research Group, Dr. Claire Thomas and the Political Secretary, Edward Dun, from the British High Commission, met with Eradiri to seek reasons behind resurgence of violence in the region. 

The Britons were said to be concerned about the recent attacks on pipelines, renew threats of militancy, kidnapping, electoral violence and collaborating with Ijaw youths to ensure peace through information sharing. 

A source who attended the meeting said it was the first of its kind and underscored the rebranded leadership of IYC under Eradiri. 

The source who spoke in confidence said the British nationals and the IYC leader had fruitful discussions in their efforts to permanently resolve the Niger Delta crisis and avert further attacks on pipelines. 

He said: “Our discussion was centered on the recent bombings of pipelines in Delta and Bayelsa states; electoral violence and kidnapping. We told them that the attacks had nothing to do with the Niger Delta struggle. 

“We expressed concerns over the political dimension of the attacks and the need to look into the activities of some contractors working for oil companies. 

“We have not and will not encourage any youth to attack oil installations in our region. Apart from the economic implications, it has far-reaching negative impact on our environment. 

“We took them round our facilities and the library we just built to promote education among the youths of the Niger Delta. We expressed happiness that for the first time, voting took place in Bayelsa State.”

The source, however, said that the IYC leader asked the British envoys to prevail on the Federal Government to stop its plan to scrap the Maritime University in Delta state. 

“We like the university because it will promote education and reduce restiveness among the youths in the Niger Delta region. When people are educated, they will no the dangers of pipeline vandalism in the region. 

“The more education we have the better for us. Any attempt to scrap the university will cause serious problems in the region. Canceling the university is not the way to go. In fact, efforts should be made to build more educational facilities in the region”, he said. 

He said Eradiri assured the Britons that the youths would adopt non-violent approach to press home their demands. 

When contacted, Eradiri, confirmed that the envoys visited him to seek solutions to the attacks on pipelines and other problems in the region. 

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