The Ijaw National Congress (INC), has declared seven days of mourning in Ijaw land following the deaths of 10 promising Ijaw sons and daughters in two accidents that occurred on June 11.
It will be recalled that six of the deceased, who were members of the Barrister Smooth Musical Band, died in the crash that happened along the Kogi-Abuja Highway on their way to Abuja.
The other four, supporters of Bayelsa Queen Football Club, died in the accident that occurred around the Kwale-Asaba Road in Delta State.
The INC President, Prof. Benjamin Okaba, announced the seven-day mourning in a statement on Friday titled, “Ijaw nation mourns deaths of musicians, football supporters”.
The statement on behalf of the pan-Ijaw socio-cultural organisation’s national executive committee and its Board of Trustees, said the entire Ijaw nation was deeply heartbroken by the tragic loss.
“The INC is deeply saddened by the unfortunate and sad twin tragic incidents that claimed the lives of these talented Ijaw musicians and lovers of football who were following their passion.
“It was indeed a Black Sunday in the entire Ijaw nation.
“We are particularly pained and sorrowed by the fact that these Ijaw patriots died in their prime and the Ijaw nation and Nigeria in general would not be able to benefit from their huge musical skills, and dedication to the promotion of football as a sport.
“As a result of this calamity that has befallen Ijaw nation, the INC declares seven days of mourning across Ijaw land.
“In this regard, we equally advise that all INC flags across Ijaw land be flown at half-mast as a mark of honour for our departed brothers and sisters during this period of sorrow.
“Also, all activities at the international headquarters of the INC in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, remain suspended during this period of mourning in Ijaw nation.” Okaba said.
The INC commiserated with Governors Douye Diri, Sheriff Oborevwori and Siminialayi Fubara as well as the government and good people of Bayelsa, Delta and Rivers States on the untimely demises of the 10 Ijaw youths.
Okaba also expressed condolences to their families, communities, Barrister Smooth and his band members and the management of Bayelsa Queens FC.
He commended Diri “for demonstrating compassion and love as a great leader of the Ijaw nation concerning the condition of the survivors of the accidents.”
The INC prayed that the Almighty God would comfort the families of the deceased over the irreparable loss that they have suffered and grant eternal repose to the souls of the departed Ijaw youths.