On Tuesday, the umbrella body of the Niger Delta Youths, the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) unveiled a plan to conduct a one million man protest march against the policies of President Muhammadu Buhari toward the Niger Delta.

President of the IYC, Udengs Eradiri

These policies include the planned closure of the Maritime University in Kurutie community of Warri South-West Local Government Area (LGA) of Delta State.

The protest march, according to the IYC, will be organized as a Youth Convention at the temporary site of the Maritime University, in Kurutie community and will involve various Niger Delta communities, Student Organisations, sympathizers of development education, the Higher Institutions of Learning in the region, and clans. Local and International Youth organizations are expected to halt the biased policies of the present administration against the people of the Niger Delta region.

The President of the IYC, Udengs Eradiri announced the protest march during an interactive session with the media in Yenagoa.  He argued that although the protest was not specifically targeted against President Muhammadu Buhari, its purpose was to send a message to the present administration that the people of the region are tired of retrogressive policies against the Niger Delta.

Mr. Eradiri noted that the modalities for the planned protest will be announced in the next 7 days and invitations for the special convention will be sent out.

“It [the protest] is to show to the world that the President is too busy to closely monitor what is happening in the Niger Delta region,” the IYC President said.

On the proposed cancellation of the Niger Delta Maritime University, Mr. Eradiri urged people not to castigate the former Governor of Rivers State and the Minister of Transport, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi, for the announcement of the cancellation.

"Amaechi is only a messenger sent by the Northern powers. Immediately after President Buhari took office,the first casualty was the NIMASA Managing Director.

Immediately after the new DG took over,the first action he took was to suspend work on the Maritime University and the second action was to suspend funding for Nigerians undergoing studies in foreign universities because of a vendetta. So, people should not throw tantrums at Mr. Amaechi. This matter started in June and we have written series of letters to President Buhari,” Mr.Eradiri explained.

The IYC President also questioned the validity of President Buhari’s claims that the university needed to be shut down due to alleged fraud.  Mr. Eradiri argued that the alleged fraud had not yet been proven, and that the fraudulent activities had not led to the shutdown of the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) and others.

Instead of simply shutting down the University, Mr. Eradiri argued, the Federal Government should have launched an independent investigation.

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