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Osinbajo meets Ijaw leaders



Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday met with leaders of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), including Chief Edwin Clark to find a way out of the logjam in Niger Delta.

Some groups had earlier urged the government not to meet with the PANDEF leaders.

Acting President Osinbajo welcomes Edwin Clark
Leaders of PANDEF meeet with Osinbajo

The groups, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) and Niger Delta People’s Congress (NDPC), have cautioned Ijaw leader Edwin Clark against issuing ultimatum to federal government over demands of Niger Delta people.

Clark on the platform of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) had given the federal government a deadline of November 1 to form a negotiating team on the demands of the Niger Delta.

Reacting to the ultimatum, MEND dissociated itself from the ultimatum and recalled its members from the PANDEF.

The spokesman of the militant group, Mr Jomo Gbomo, said the recall was in order to pave the way for consultation with them.

He said that Clark and His Royal Highness, King Alfred Diette-Spiff, lacked the moral justification to give the Federal Government an ultimatum.

MEND stressed that the duo had no justification to make demands that they (Clark and Diette-Spiff) never made from former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“PANDEF, led by elder statesmen Chief Edwin Clark and His Royal Highness King Alfred Diette -Spiff, lack the moral justification in giving an ultimatum to the Federal Government and making demands they never made from Goodluck Jonathan when he was at the helm for six wasted years.”

He explained that rather than issue threats through fake Internet-based militant groups, PANDEF ought to have used the opportunity at their disposal to commend the Federal Government for exposing the looting of the nation’s funds by some sons and daughters of the region, including Jonathan and Diezani Alison-Madueke.

“PANDEF is also pretending not to notice that the amnesty programme is still operating on the corrupt template that still pays ghost militants after it hoodwinked the government into believing in the fraud; a programme that has neglected the children of the dead freedom fighters and those in prison, for those that never made any sacrifice is cursed.

The other group, Niger Delta People’s Congress, also faulted the November 1 ultimatum given by the Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum to the Federal Government to implement its 16-point agenda, describing the decision as “highly selfish and unpatriotic.”

Demands of Niger Delta

The group’s Convener, Chief Mike Loyibo, said stated that the threat was uncalled for considering the right steps taken so far by the Federal Government towards a permanent solution to the crisis that had bedeviled the 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 then listed some of the issues that the Federal Government must address urgently to include the relocation of oil companies’ headquarters to the region, the maritime university, the Ogoni clean-up and the modular refineries among others.

“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.”

The Director General of Voice of Nigeria (VON), Mr Osita Okechukwu, had also flayed Clark and cautioned him against the propaganda against the federal government.

Okechukwu told newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja that rather than engage inn propaganda, Clark should support President Muhammadu Bahari’s administration to develop Nigeria.

Clark had at a news conference recently, asked the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, constitute a negotiation team to engage in talks with the Niger Delta stakeholders before Aug.1.

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