*Says Bill didn’t meet expectations of host communities

*Insists on restructuring; warns FG on interim mgmt. in NDDC

*Asks govt to call security agencies to order on manhunt for Igboho

*Demands the truth on alleged abduction, repatriation of Nnamdi Kanu

By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South

PAN-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, umbrella group of Niger-Delta people, weekend, knocked the National Assembly over the newly passed Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, saying it did not meet the yearnings of Niger-Delta people.

The regional group also warned that conflicts may continue in the oil-rich region if host communities were denied their legitimate rights in the oil industry.

PANDEF at an extraordinary meeting in Abuja restating its stand on restructuring, further cautioned the Federal Government over the abandonment of its 16-point agenda presented to President Muhammadu Buhari, November 1, 2016, in view of recent threats by militants to resume fresh hostilities in the region over unfulfilled promises by government.

It frowned at the continuous use of interim managements to run the Niger-Delta Development Commission, NDDC, calling on the Federal Government to call its security agents to order concerning the midnight invasion of the residence of Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo, also known as Sunday Igboho, and tell Nigerians the home truth on the abduction, clandestine and forceful repatriation of the leader of Indigenous People of Biafra, IPoB, Nnamdi Kanu.

National leader of PANDEF and former Federal Minister of information, Senator Edwin Kiagbodo Clark; national chairman, Senator Emmanuel Ibok- Essien; deputy national chairman, Chief Hon. T. K. Okorotie; former Minister of Housing, Lands and Urban Development Rt. Hon. Nduese Essien; former chairman, NDDC, Senator Bassey Ewa Henshaw; former Secretary to the Government of Rivers State, Senator Inatimi Rufus-Spiff attended the meeting.

Others were PANDEF National Woman Leader, Chief Mrs. Betty Igbeyi; former Resident Electoral Commissioner, Edo State, Dr. Mrs. Rose Obuoforibo; former Member, Federal House of Representatives, Chief Mrs. Olivia Agbajoh; former Commissioner, DESOPADEC, Chief Ominimini Obiuwevwi and former national secretary, Traditional Rulers of Oil Producing Communities of Nigeria, TROMPCON, Prince Maikpbo Okareme.

The group’s resolutions contained in a communique by Senators Clark and Ibok-Essien read in part: “That the PIB 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 per cent 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.”

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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 ethnic 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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

“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.

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