The Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) Worldwide has disassociated itself from a statement attacking the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and claiming that the governor has no right to stop protests in the state.
IYC in a document signed on Thursday by its President, Timothy Igbifa, said the anti-Wike statement never originated from the council and that its content did not represent the true position of the IYC.
The council insisted that the contents of the statement were the opinions of the person who issued it.
The statement said: "The council at no time authorised the statement, which tried to belittle the Rivers State governor, downplay his powers and create an impression that the IYC is on a collision course with Governor Nyesom Wike.
"We listened carefully to the governor when he received the Sole Administrator, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Effiong Akwa, who paid him a courtesy visit on February 2, 2021.
"Wike specifically said that the NDDC was not the birthright of any ethnic nationality (including his Ikwere ethnic group). The governor also said that he would no longer tolerate protests capable of causing problems and crises in the state.
"The Governor of Rivers State is not and will not be against genuine and non-violent protests any day any time. The council makes bold to say that the IYC is not at war with the Rivers State Government.
"The governor’s remarks were in line with the position of the IYC's leadership that the NDDC belongs to the entire Niger Delta region. It was also in harmony with the resolve of the council not to heat the polity and destabilise the region with unnecessary politically motivated protests, which can degenerate into violence.
"We had earlier said that the council would adopt other means of peaceful agitation to actualise our objectives while protests could be deployed as the final card on the table. Even if at any time we agree as a council to protest, we must consult all stakeholders, including governors, and make our intentions known to security agencies.
"Therefore, we find it preposterous, disrespectful, unwarranted, and dishonourable for anybody to try to twist and personalise Governor Wike's remarks, which at best should have been viewed as a piece of advice from a critical stakeholder."
The statement further explained that Wike and other governors in the region remained critical partners in the region, alongside ministers and others.