Leader of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to stop giving the impression that he is still looking for the right people to dialogue with for peace in the Niger Delta oil region.
He said the President must have a rethink and put a team to negotiate with PANDEF as soon as possible because there is a limit to which the people of the region can wait, adding that the boys (militants) are impatient.
“When Mr. President gave his New Year message, he paid particular attention to peace in the Niger Delta. He said he was prepared to dialogue with Niger Delta people and he used the words, I am persuading, the second time he is using those words. So, we congratulate him for agreeing for the first time that dialogue is the answer. We are ready, but no impression should be given that they are still looking for people to negotiate with, because on November 1, last year when we met with him, we were about 100; traditional leaders, opinion leaders, youths and women. We all met at Aso Rock.
“So, we are appealing to Mr. President that we have been waiting. We cannot wait endlessly. If he is not prepared for dialogue, let us know. We are not begging anybody. We want peace in our region.
“Our youths in the region, they call them militants, have agreed and said: ‘Our daddies, you should go and negotiate on our behalf.’ So, I do not think the President wants to dialogue with the youths. They have mandated us, and we have agreed. We do not want Operation Crocodile Smile in our region.
“So, the President should have a rethink and summon his team to negotiate with us. We cannot continue to wait. There is a limit to which we can wait and the boys are impatient too. We have been appealing to them from time to time,” Clark stated.
In a communiqué by the convener/leader of PANDEF, Chief Clark and former military Administrator of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd.), who presided over the meeting of the Central Working Committee (CWC) of the body, PANDEF said it was worried how President Buhari continues to keep mute in the face of alleged orchestrated assault on the family of former President Goodluck Jonathan with the obvious intention to humiliate him.
It also noted that the recent statement by the Special Adviser, Media, to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina that the Presidency was still searching for credible leaders of the region to discuss with was an assault on the sensibilities and integrity of the people of the Niger Delta.
The group requested for urgent release of the over N1 trillion Federal Government under-contribution to the funds of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and also demanded that government should order for the immediate take-off of the Nigerian Maritime University (NMU), Okerenkoko, Delta State.
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