COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF AN EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF PAN NIGER DELTA FORUM (PANDEF) HELD ON THURSDAY 1ST & FRIDAY 2ND JULY, 2021 IN ABUJA
Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) held an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, 1st and Friday, 2nd July 2021, on critical matters of National and Regional concern, in Nigeria.
In attendance at the Meeting, which was held at the Abuja residence of PANDEF National Leader and former Federal Minister of information, Chief Senator Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, OFR, CON, were the National Chairman, Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, FNSE; members of the Board of Trustees; members of National and State Executive Committees, as well as key stakeholders of the Niger Delta Region, including:Chief Hon. T. K. Okorotie, OFR, PANDEF Deputy National Chairman; Rt. Hon. Nduese Essien, former Minister of Housing, Lands and Urban Development; Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw, former Chairman, NDDC; Senator Inatimi Rufus-Spiff, former Secretary to the Government of Rivers State; Chief Mrs. Betty Igbeyi, mni, PANDEF National Woman Leader; Dr. Mrs. Rose Obuoforibo, former Resident Electoral Commissioner, Edo State; Chief Mrs. Olivia Agbajoh, former Member Federal House of Representatives; Chief Dr. Sir Ominimini Obiuwevwi, former Commissioner, DESOPADEC; Prince Maikpobi Okareme, Pioneer National Secretary of TROMPCON among others.
After extensive deliberations, the following resolutions were reached:PANDEF
1. Cautions the Federal Government of Nigeria over the now likely deleterious consequences of ignoring, or treating with contempt, the 16-Point Agenda presented to President Muhammadu Buhari, on 1st November 2016. Currently, the Youth in the Niger Delta have declared a “Vote of No Confidence” on PANDEF, because it was the leaders of the Region that stayed their hand when, in frustration, they had decided to cripple the national economy, in 2016.
2. Condemns the brutal and bloody midnight raid on the residence of a Yoruba Rights Activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, in the Soka area of Ibadan, Oyo State, by agents of the Department of State Services, DSS, in a Gestapo manner, during which innocent citizens were killed and properties destroyed.
3. Stands in solidarity with Afenifere, and the South-West people, on this matter and calls on Mr President to immediately call to order the security agencies and cease all forms of flagrant abuse of power.
4. Requests the Federal Government to tell Nigerians the truth of the process which led to the abduction of the IPOB leader, Nnamdi Kanu, and his clandestine, forceful repatriation to Nigeria, and hopes that he will be given a fair and open trial.
5. Cautions that the reported identification of sponsors of Nnamdi Kanu, should not be an alibi to witch-hunt and persecute phantom enemies imagined by the government.
6. Stands, firmly, in solidarity with the people of the Middle Belt Region, in the face of brutal physical attacks and seeming plans to destroy their every means of livelihood, by suspected Fulani gunmen.
7. Recalls a recent visit by a delegation of the Tarok people of Plateau state sent by their leader, General (Senator) J. J. Useni (rtd), former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, and former Military Governor of defunct Bendel State, to its National Leader, Chief Dr. E. K. Clark, during which they enumerated many traumatic experiences of their people in a seeming scheme to dispossess them of their land for foreigners to occupy, on basis of ethic and religious allegiance.The Tarok people recalled that a number of their sons, such as Generals Domkat Bali, Joshua Dogonyaro and John Shagaya, had played a major role, and many paid the supreme price, to keep Nigeria one, during the Civil War, and in most difficult periods of instability in the country’s history. Yet, they are today, being visited with unbearable measures of violence.
8. Notes the passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, by both the Senate and House of Representatives, on Thursday, 1st July 2021, but observes that the Bill falls short of the expectations of the Niger Delta people, who bear the brunt of the consequences of the oil and gas industry operations in their lands.PANDEF recalls, and reiterates, that Host Communities, of the Niger Delta Region, had demanded 10% Equity participation, as against the percentages just passed by the National Assembly. And maintains its long-held logical demand that, unless stakeholders of the Oil and Gas Host Communities are given sufficient rights in the management and operation of the industry, conflicts in the oil-rich region may persist.
9. Restates its position on the Restructuring of the Country, and insists that Nigeria cannot continue in the present trajectory of a flawed Constitution and undemocratic tendencies of those operating it.
10. Reiterates the call on the National Assembly to accelerate the Amendment of the Electoral Act, with provisions for Electronic Voting, before the 2023 General Elections, to guarantee free, fair and credible elections. That anything otherwise remains grossly unacceptable.
11. Further decries the continued neglect, even outright abandonment, of critical infrastructural projects in the Niger Delta Region, by the Federal Government, such as the East-West Road; the Gas Revolution Industrial Park, Ogidigben and the Omadinor-Escravos Road projects both in Delta State; the Calabar – Ikot Ekpene Road; amongst several others.
12. Strongly condemns the unending span of an Interim Management for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to the detriment of the Region. Warns that the situation threatens the peace and stability of the Region, and therefore, calls on President Muhammadu Buhari to constitute the Board and Management of the NDDC, in line with the Act establishing the Commission, without any further delay.
13. Restates PANDEF’s commitment to sustaining collaborations with similar groups and organizations in the country, to achieve national consensus on the numerous thorny issues confronting the country.
14. Maintains its resolve to engage with all critical stakeholders of the Niger Delta Region, irrespective of political inclinations, in its efforts to foster unity, lasting peace, security and sustainable development of the Region, for the benefit of the present and future generations.
Signed:Chief (Dr.) E. K. Clark, OFR, CON
Senator Emmanuel Ibok Essien, FNSE