…Say bombing of oil facilities not in region’s interest
with agency reports
07 November 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – Ijaw elder statesman and leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, has warned that attacks and destruction of oil and gas infrastructure by militants will not be in the interest of the people of Niger Delta,
He said the elders would send a delegation to meet with Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to douse the tension created by the group’s threat to resume hostilities in the region.
The NDA, through its spokesman, General Murdoch Agbinibo, had declared that the militants would resume hostilities in the region with Operation Red Economy which will target to cripple Nigeria’s economy over the foot dragging of the Federal Government in the peace process in the region.
The threat by NDA is said to have set alarm bells ringing in security circles in the Niger Delta region prompting some concerned security officials to reach out to some influential elders to talk to the militants not to throw the region into another round of crisis.
Chief Clark made the appeal when a delegation of the Federal Government led by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (rtd.) visited him in his Abuja home, appealed to the militants to maintain the existing peace in the Niger Delta region as dialogue with the Federal Government continues.
Reacting to the threat by the NDA to resume hostilities in the Niger Delta destruction to oil and gas facilities, Clark said: “We are appealing to the NDA not to resume hostilities.”
“They are our children and they mandated us to negotiate with the federal government on their behalf. They have to be patient and give us time to do so successfully.
“Any resumption of hostilities will not be in the interest of our people. This is not the time to resume hostilities. It is true that the federal government has not been quite serious about the negotiations, but we are asking the NDA to maintain the peace.
“We have pleaded with them and we are sending a delegation to meet with them.”
According to him, the major grouse of the Avengers was the disruption of the Pan Niger Delta Forum meeting in Port Harcourt.
Clark said with the explanation by Boroh, there were assurances that the dialogue is back on track. He announced that the PANDEF which he leads, will be meeting in Warri soon.
He Reiterated that Boroh is doing a good job as Adviser to the President and Coordinator of PAP in asking the federal
government to adequately fund the Amnesty Programme and to release all its budgeted funds.
Clark, however told Boroh “You are like the bridge between us and the federal government and we are willing to give you all the support you need.”
Earlier, also the Coordinator Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Boroh disclosed that the disruption of the Federal Government meeting with Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) in Port Harcourt was due to communication gap.
Boroh, explained to Chief Clark that the disruption of the PANDEF meeting was due to communication gap and assured that the Federal Government has a lot of respect for PANDEF which it regards as a major partner in the resolution of the Niger Delta challenge.
The presidential aide said the federal government would soon unfold the New Vision for Niger Delta Programme which would provide mass jobs opportunities for the youths and help fasten the development of the Region.
The group in a statement by the spokesperson, self-styled Maj-General Murdoch Agbinibo, disowned the Pan Niger Delta Forum.
Meanwhile, a group of Niger Delta elders, under the aegis of Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress (PNDPC), said it has stablished contacts with the leadership the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) over the threat of renewed hostilities and bombing of oil facilities in the region.
The media coordinator of the PNDPC, Olorogun Monday Whiskey confirmed that they have reached out to the leadership of the NDA with the offer to have a rethink and consider sustaining the existing peace give room for dialogue with the Federal Government.
Whiskey who explained that the people of the region are having sleepless night over the threat by the NDA said the overtures made to the militants is being looked into by the High Command of the NDA.
“We reached out to them and prevailed on them that dialogue is the best option. We also told them that we believe that equity, justice and fair play. We believe the APC led Federal Government should not create room for questionable characters to negotiate base on selfish notion for the people of the region.
“The Niger Delta Avengers should be reasonable in their threats and the Federal Government should also be proactive on the issues of the region. We also told the Niger Delta Avengers to be reasonable and that 24 hours is not enough to resolve the demands they have made on Federal Government.
“We believe that the contentious issues of the region needs to time to be resolved. The Federal Government should give peace a chance and treat all sections of the country equally,” he said.
A source within the NDA said the militants are studying the pleadings from the Niger Delta elders and would come up with a position after a crucial meeting it would hold with its commanders from its areas of operation.
The source said oil communities are backing the NDA over its planned operation because of the attempt by some influential politicians from the Niger Delta region to hijack the oil pipeline surveillance contracts.