Restructuring: Niger Delta Leaders Issue Deadline

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The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has threatened to pull out of peace talks with the Federal Government, should their demands not be met by November 1st 2017.

Independent reports, Chief Edwin Clark, National Leader of PANDEF, in a statement said the Buhari administration was yet to act on 16 recommendations presented to his government by the regions leaders during their meeting with him on November 1st 2016.

Clark said, “I wish to urge the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, implement the pronouncements made by the Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, during his fact-finding visits to the Niger Delta region, and to set up, without delay, the Federal Government Dialogue Team to engage PANDEF, towards resolving the pending issues contained in the Forum’s 16-point demands on behalf of the people of the Niger Delta region, by, or before, November 1, 2017 (one year anniversary of our meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari.

“Human endurance has a limit beyond which one cannot predict what the outcome will be.

“We submitted a 16-point demand to Mr. President on November 1, 2016, and we had expected that by its next anniversary, the 16-point agenda would have been comprehensively sorted out.

“If, at the expiration of the November 1, 2017 ultimatum, the Federal Government fails and/or refuses to accede to these lawful and legitimate demands of the Niger Delta people, PANDEF may consider pulling out of the ongoing peace process in the Niger Delta.”

“Unfortunately, however, it is a matter of regret to note that, the efforts of PANDEF to help Nigeria climb out of recession through a stable oil and gas production regime have not been met with tangible reciprocal action by the Federal Government.

“Indeed, through PANDEF intervention, the people of the Niger Delta region have demonstrated tremendous patriotism and goodwill towards the current administration.

“This is in spite of our being placed at a disadvantaged and marginalised position, even on issues concerning the oil and gas industry.”

The Niger Delta elders also rejected the new board of the NNPC, appointment of chief executives of NNPC subsidiaries, selection of indigenous oil operators and marginal oil fields operators.

He said, “I have been beset with statistics on the level of marginalisation against indigenes of host communities in the Niger Delta in the area of indigenous oil and gas concessions and their directors/shareholders.

“I am shocked to discover that virtually all the oil blocks or marginal oil fields in the country are owned by Northerners, and their counterparts in other parts of Nigeria, who are mostly South-Westerners and South Easterners.

“I have a duty to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the marginalisation and neglect of the region.”

“We advocate strongly that there must be a deliberate review to involve qualified indigenes of the oil and gas host communities in top and middle level positions as well as in the allocation of oil literate blocs/marginal fields in the oil and gas industry.”

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