Niger Delta: PANDEF withdraws ultimatum
From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), after their meeting with Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, Thursday night has withdrawn its November 1st, ultimatum to the federal government to meet their 16-point agenda or they withdraw from the peace talk.
Speaking to State House Correspondents at the end of the five-hour meeting, the leader of the group, Edwin Clark, described discussion as “honest, truthful, forthright”.
According to him: “No more ultimatum. We agreed on many things. They came with their own address, the ministers all spoke, presented their cases and at the end, the Acting President rounded it up. We saw his frankness, forthrightness, he is a gentleman. We are satisfied. We have agreed to work together and the issue of dialogue must to take place.
“The message we are sending back home is that we had the opportunity to meet with Mr. Acting President, we discussed our 16-point agenda and government’s 20-point agenda and we are all satisfied. We all agreed that everyone should maintain peace.”
He denied that the people of Niger Delta were not speaking with one voice, insisting “We are speaking with one voice.”
On MEND disassociating itself from PANDEF, Clark replied, “MEND was in the meeting. Jomo Gbomo does not exist as a human being, that is a ghost name, fake name. Other organizations were here. I am the leader of the Niger Delta and every leader you can think of from cross the river to Ondo State were all here today.”
The Minister of Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu, who also addressed newsmen said the environment of the meeting was not that of ultimatum and that the group has pledged its loyalty to the government.
“We discussed how far we have gone with the implementation of the 16-point agenda. Several issues relating to the university, the development of the region, amnesty programme, NDDC operations in the Niger Delta. It was very exhaustive.
“Today was environment of peace, calm, friendliness, and mutual dialoguing on issues, where we are coming from and most pressing issues that they have.