Niger Delta Group Urges Osinbajo Not To Negotiate With Edwin Clark, PANDEF
The Niger Delta Peoples Congress (NDPC) has asked the Federal Government not to negotiate with the Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF).
The group’s convener, Mike Loyibo, in a statement, said the Presidency should rather go back to the people in the host communities the same way that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo went round initially “to seek their buy-in.”
Osinbajo is scheduled to meet with the PANDEF at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja.
Loyibi condemned the November 1 ultimatum given by the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum to the Federal Government to implement its 16-point agenda.
Clark had at a press conference on Monday threatened that PANDEF would withdraw from the peace negotiation it was having with the Federal Government if his forum’s demands were not met before November 1.
But Loyibo described PANDEF as just one of the many groups in the the Niger Delta and that its decision could not be binding on everybody in the region.
“It is highly selfish and unpatriotic for the Chief E. K. Clark- led PANDEF to give the Federal Government an ultimatum considering the right steps taken so far by the government towards a permanent solution to the age-long crisis that had bedeviled the Niger Delta region.
“We are aware that the government constituted a high-powered committee chaired by the Acting President who has demonstrated so much passion and commitment towards the region. PANDEF is just one of the many groups in the region and its decision cannot be binding on everybody.
“There is no need for the Federal Government to negotiate with any group, rather , the Presidency should go back to the people in the host communities just the same way that the Acting President went round initially to seek their buy – in . After all, it was not PANDEF that secured peace in the region.
“They have consulted widely and a road map has already been fashioned out. The Federal Government should not allow any group to slow her down , rather immediate action should be taken to tackle already identified issues,” Loyibo said.
He listed issues requiring the Federal Government’s attention as including relocation of oil companies’ headquarters to the region, the maritime university, the Ogoni clean-up and the modular refineries among others .
He stated: “The oil companies should be compelled to relocate to the region as previously instructed by the Acting President . The Maritime University needs immediate action . The modular refineries should kick off immediately. The NDDC, as presently constituted, should not stand. The amnesty programme should be well funded, further strengthened and re- engineered. The Ogoni clean -up should go ahead and the model should be used for other neglected communities in the region.”