Wednesday, September 12, 2018 7:49 am
Bayelsa State Governor, the Honourable Henry Seriake Dickson, has described the police raid of the Abuja residence of Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, for purported gunrunning as a failed bid to intimidate the Ijaw nation.
The governor stressed that nobody could intimidate the Ijaw ethnic group, insisting that the Ijaw voice would sustain its outcry against injustice and inequality in the country.
His Special Adviser on Media Relations, Mr. Fidelis Soriwei, said in a statement that Governor Dickson spoke during a solidarity visit to leader of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) in Abuja on Tuesday.
Governor Dickson praised Pa Clark for his leadership style, courage, firmness and commitment to the cause of the Ijaw nation.
He said that if the unfortunate invasion of the residence of the elder statesman was meant to intimidate the Ijaw people, the evil plot had failed with the outcome of the police action.
He stated that the Ijaw spirit had always been known to be indomitable and would not succumb to intimidation from any quarters.
“As you already know, you and I have spoken about this unfortunate incident. I have made known our utter disappointment with the action of the police for which is clearly an unnecessary and condemnable act of intimidation of the family of our leader at the age of 92.
“We have issued statements condemning the invasion, harassment, intimidation and calling for an apology. I again publicly restate our condemnation of the intimidation of a 92-year-old leader of our people and indeed one of the foremost leaders of Nigeria.
“We know that no weapon fashioned against our leader, our people will stand. If this was targeted to intimidate our people, it has failed. The spirit of the Ijaw nation cannot be intimidated. The Ijaw spirit is indomitable.
“That is what you have shown, you have taught all these years. We admire your courage, your strength of character, which personifies the indomitable spirit of our people. We know that this will not sway you. In this nation, the Ijaw spirit cannot be intimidated. The Ijaw voice will continue to be heard.”
Dickson stated that Clark had demonstrated quality leadership for his people, adding that he personified what he called the indomitable spirit of the Ijaw people.
The governor challenged the Federal Government to go after those responsible for the reprehensible slaughter of innocent Nigerians rather than the harassment of the innocent.
“The killers are known, the killer herdsmen who are involved in the killings are known but they are protected and why are you now harassing a 92-year-old man?” he queried.
Pa Clark, while narrating his ordeal to the delegation, said the police would have denied the raid if not for the timely arrival of a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Power, Amb. Godknows Igali, to his residence.
The nonagenarian stated that he had to calm Niger Delta youths who converged in several cities to angrily react to the incident.
Clark condemned what he described as the continuing marginalisation of the Ijaw people in the oil sector, especially in the area of appointments in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
“NNPC is the engine room of the oil industry. You (Federal Government) appointed nine people. Six of them from the North, one from the West, one from the South South. Thirty-six senior managers of NNPC and 17 from the North, and you don’t want me to talk about it. That is nonsense.
“I thought I was fighting alone. My people admire me. I am not fighting alone. You should fight against injustice, oppression. I am 92 and I have received my boarding pass. Why should I be afraid? I believe in the unity of Nigeria but let everybody be equal,” he contended.
He also wondered why the junior police officers who acted on directives from the authorities to raid his residence were dismissed for carrying out orders from superior authorities.
In the entourage of the governor were Senator Ben Bruce and former Sokoto State Deputy Governor and later Water Resources Minister, Mukhtar Shagari.