By Sampson Boron
The President of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Mr. Peter Timothy Igbifa, has denied receiving N14 million from the Interim Management Committee of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on behalf of Ijaw youths.
He described the allegation against him by some Ijaw youths as unfounded, challenging those behind the allegation to come out with facts.
Some Ijaw youths led by the Legal Adviser of IYC, Mr. Obiri Ebilade, had accused the Igbifa of allegedly collecting N14 million and another 100,000 USD from the leadership of NDDC after his emergence as IYC President.
But reacting to the allegation, the IYC President noted that there was no truth in the allegation, adding that those behind the falsehood were merely out to ridicule the coveted IYC presidency which he presently led.
In a statement on Tuesday, Igbifa assured the Ijaw Nation especially youths that he will never deviate from the electioneering promises of uniting and running a transparent union.
“My attention has been drawn to a publication by an online medium, the Investigator Newspaper, alleging that I, the 8th President of the reputable Ijaw Youths Council (IYC), Worldwide, collected N14million and another 100,000 USD from the Niger Development Commission (NDDC) on behalf of the council and squandered it.
“I would have glossed over the matter because of the obvious falsehood contained in the report but the fact that such allegation came from the Legal Adviser of IYC, Mr. Obiri Ebilade, who is a member of my council and whose opinion could be taken seriously by uninformed members of the public, made it expedient for me to take issues with him.
“Prior to my election and indeed after my overwhelming victory at the poll, I promised to run a transparent and all-inclusive administration with clear emphasis to sustain the struggles that laid the foundation to our noble IYC.
“I want to assure the Ijaw nation that I have not deviated from that promise. I am, however, shocked at the level of desperation by some persons led by Ebilade to tarnish my image and bring the highly respected office of the council’s President to public ridicule.”
He declared that he had directed the new IYC Legal Adviser and his lawyers to file a defamation suit against Ebilade and the newspaper that reportedly published the allegation against him.
“The inconsistency in the allegation has exposed Ebilade as a hired and paid agent, who is on a failed sinister mission to hang on just anything to bring down my person and my office.
“In one breadth, Ebilade claimed that the said money was meant for the conduct of the Oporoza Convention, but in another breadth he said I collected the money after the convention and squandered it.
“I believe that Ebilade is a lawyer and knows the implications of making wild unfounded allegations. I challenge him to go a step further to prove his allegation. The onus rests on the accuser to adduce required ingredients of proof to incontrovertiblly justify his position.
“I have searched my memory in vain to remember when the said incident happened and when I collected such money from the NDDC on behalf of the council. Therefore, I call on Ebilade to remind me the date of the event he spoke about and give details of how it happened.
“Ebilade and the Investigator Newspaper are hereby given seven working days to withdraw their allegation and apologise to me and the IYC. I have informed my newly appointed Legal Adviser, Bar. Igbeta Ayebakuro and my lawyers to activate a legal process that will bring Ebilade and the newspaper to court to prove their allegations, in case they fail to publish the retractions and apologies.
“I urge Ijaw youths to disregard the needless distractions from Ebilade and his paymasters. The IYC under my administration is in safe hands and no amount of blackmail will deter us from implementing all our programmes and policies designed to reposition the council”, Igbifa in the statement added.