THE KAIAMA DECLARATION
IJAW YOUTHS OF THE NIGER
BEING COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END
OF THE ALL IJAW YOUTHS CONFERENCE
WHICH HELD IN THE TOWN OF
KAIAMA THIS 11TH DAY OF DECEMBER 1998.
We, Ijaw youths drawn from over five hundred communities from over 40
clans that make up the Ijaw nation and representing 25 representative
organisations met, today, in Kaiama to deliberate on the best way to
ensure the continuos survival of the indigenous peoples of the Ijaw ethnic
nationality of the Niger Delta within the Nigerian state.
After exhaustive deliberations, the Conference observed:
a. That it was through British colonisation that the IJAW NATION
was forcibly put under the Nigerian State
b. That but for the economic interests of the imperialists, the
Ijaw ethnic nationality would have evolved as a distinct and separate
sovereign nation, enjoying undiluted political, economic, social, and
c. That the division of the Southern Protectorate into East and
West in 1939 by the British marked the beginning of the balkanisation of a
hitherto territorially contiguous and culturally homogeneous Ijaw people
into political and administrative units, much to our disadvantage. This
trend is continuing in the balkanisation of the Ijaws into six
states-Ondo, Edo, Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers and Akwa Ibom States, mostly as
minorities who suffer socio-political, economic, cultural and
d. That the quality of life of Ijaw people is deteriorating as a
result of utter neglect, suppression and marginalisation visited on Ijaws
by the alliance of the Nigerian state and transnational oil companies.
e. That the political crisis in Nigeria is mainly about the
struggle for the control of oil mineral resources which account for over
80% of GDP, 95 %of national budget and 90% of foreign exchange earnings.
From which, 65%, 75% and 70% respectively are derived from within the Ijaw
nation. Despite these huge contributions, our reward from the Nigerian
State remains avoidable deaths resulting from ecological devastation and
f. That the unabating damage done to our fragile natural
environment and to the health of our people is due in the main to
uncontrolled exploration and exploitation of crude oil and natural gas
which has led to numerous oil spillages, uncontrolled gas flaring, the
opening up of our forests to loggers, indiscriminate canalisation,
flooding, land subsidence, coastal erosion, earth tremors etc. Oil and gas
are exhaustible resources and the complete lack of concern for ecological
rehabilitation, in the light of the Oloibiri experience, is a signal of
impending doom for the peoples of Ijawland.
g. That the degradation of the environment of Ijawland by
transnational oil companies and the Nigerian State arise mainly because
Ijaw people have been robbed of their natural rights to ownership and
control of their land and resources through the instrumentality of
undemocratic Nigerian State legislations such as the Land Use Decree of
1978, the Petroleum Decrees of 1969 and 1991, the Lands (Title Vesting
etc.) Decree No. 52 of 1993 (Osborne Land Decree), the National Inland
Waterways Authority Decree No. 13 of 1997 etc.
h. That the principle of Derivation in Revenue Allocation has
been consciously and systematically obliterated by successive regimes of
the Nigerian state. We note the drastic reduction of the Derivation
Principle from 100% (1953), 50% (1960), 45% (1970), 20% (1975) 2% (1982),
1.5% (1984) to 3% (1992 to date), and a rumored 13% in Abacha's 1995
undemocratic and unimplemented Constitution.
i. That the violence in Ijawland and other parts of the Niger
Delta area, sometimes manifesting in intra and inter ethnic conflicts are
sponsored by the State and transnational oil companies to keep the
communities of the Niger Delta area divided, weak and distracted from the
causes of their problems.
j. That the recent revelations of the looting of national
treasury by the Abacha junta is only a reflection of an existing and
continuing trend of stealing by public office holders in the Nigerian
state. We remember the over 12 billion dollars Gulf war windfall, which
was looted by Babangida and his cohorts We note that over 70% of the
billions of dollars being looted by military rulers and their civilian
collaborators is derived from our ecologically devastated Ijawland.
Based on the foregoing, we, the youths of Ijawland, hereby make the
following resolutions to be known as the Kaiama Declaration:
1. All land and natural resources (including mineral resources)
within the Ijaw territory belong to Ijaw communities and are the basis of
2. We cease to recognise all undemocratic decrees that rob
our peoples/communities of the right to ownership and control of our lives
and resources, which were enacted without our participation and consent.
These include the Land Use Decree and The Petroleum Decree etc.
3. We demand the immediate withdrawal from Ijawland of all
military forces of occupation and repression by the Nigerian State. Any
oil company that employs the services of the armed forces of the Nigerian
State to "protect" its operations will be viewed as an enemy of the Ijaw
people. Family members of military personnel stationed in Ijawland should
appeal to their people to leave the Ijaw area alone.
4..Ijaw youths in all the communities in all Ijaw clans in
the Niger Delta will take steps to implement these resolutions beginning
from the 30th of December, 1998, as a step towards reclaiming the control
of our lives. We, therefore, demand that all oil companies stop all
exploration and exploitation activities in the Ijaw area. We are tired of
gas flaring; oil spillages, blowouts and being labelled saboteurs and
terrorists. It is a case of preparing the noose for our hanging. We reject
this labelling. Hence, we advice all oil companies staff and contractors
to withdraw from Ijaw territories by the 30th December, 1998 pending the
resolution of the issue of resource ownership and control in the Ijaw area
of the Niger Delta
5.. Ijaw youths and Peoples will promote the principle of
peaceful coexistence between all Ijaw communities and with our immediate
neighbours, despite the provocative and divisive actions of the Nigerian
State, transnational oil companies and their contractors. We offer a hand
of friendship and comradeship to our neighbors: the Itsekiri, Ilaje,
Urhobo, Isoko, Edo, Ibibio, Ogoni, Ekpeye, Ikwerre etc. We affirm our
commitment to joint struggle with the other ethnic nationalities in the
Niger delta area for self-determination.
6. We express our solidarity with all peoples organisations
and ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and elsewhere who are struggling for
self-determination and justice. In particular we note the struggle of the
Oodua peoples Congress (OPC), the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni
People (Mosop), Egi Women's Movement etc.
7. We extend our hand of solidarity to the Nigerian oil
workers (NUPENG and PENGASSAN) and expect that they will see this struggle
for freedom as a struggle for humanity
reject the present transition to civil rule programme of the Abubakar
regime, as it is not preceded by restructuring of the Nigerian federation.
The way forward is a Sovereign National Conference of equally represented
ethnic nationalities to discuss the nature of a democratic federation of
Nigerian ethic nationalities. Conference noted the violence and killings
that characterized the last local government elections in most parts of
the Niger Delta. Conference pointed out that these electoral conflicts are
a manifestation of the undemocratic and unjust nature of the military
transition programme. Conference affirmed therefore, that the military are
incapable of enthroning true democracy in Nigeria.
9 We call on all Ijaws to remain true to their Ijawness and to
work for the total liberation of our people. You have no other true home
but that which is in Ijawland.
10 We agreed to remain within Nigeria but to demand and work
for Self Government and resource control for the Ijaw people. Conference
approved that the best way for Nigeria is a federation of ethnic
nationalities. The federation should be run on the basis equality and
Finally, Ijaw youths resolve to set up the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) to
coordinate the struggle of Ijaw peoples for self-determination and
Signed for the entire participants by:
and Ogoriba, Timi