Youth leaders from 19 ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta region have urged President Muhammadu Buhari to involve them in the ongoing moves to dialogue with leaders of the region.
The youth leaders, in a communiqué at the end of the meeting, said the proposed dialogue with the Niger Delta Elders was commendable.
They, however, said the youth were the “most vulnerable stakeholders in the economic, security and political issues affecting the region.”
Sahara Reporters stated that the youth leaders, who met in Warri, Delta State, were Udengs Eradiri (Ijaw Youth Council), Egbo (Isoko Youths Council), Mathew Dighi (Ogoni Youths Council), Edward Odum (Ikwerre Youth Council), Esimaje Awani (Itsekiri Youth Council), Imoh Stephen Okiko (Ibibio Youth Council), Mazi Okechukwu (Ohaneze Ndigbo Youth Council), Damige Pharry (Kalabari Youth Foundation) , Bassey Henshew (Efik Youth Council) and others.
Listing their demands, the youth said they wanted an inclusion of all the youth leaders in the proposed dialogue.
The statement partly read, “The Federal Government should ensure a high degree of transparency and sincerity in the process of dialogue and negotiations. And we call on the agitating groups to sheathe their swords and give peace a chance.
“There should also be the reactivation of the Calabar, Warri and Port Harcourt sea ports, the construction of the Lagos/Calabar railway, completion of the East-West road, Umuahia-Ikot Ekpene, and Aba-Ikot Ekpene,Owerri-Port Harcourt, Isoko-Onitsha, Benin-Abuja and Calabar Itu expressways . The government should adequately fund the Niger Delta Development Commission, the Presidential Amnesty Programme and the Niger Delta Ministry. We believe this project will generate well over five hundred thousand job opportunities for the youth of the region.”
The youth leaders said though the people of the region appreciated the Federal Government for the release of the Chibok girls, they requested that in the spirit of genuine reconciliation and national unity, “the IPOB Leader, Nnamdi Kanu, and the Shiite Leader, El Zakzaky, should be released.”