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PANDEF MEETS IN WARRI, ACCUSES FG OF CREATING TENSION IN NIGER DELTA

Niger Delta leaders from Delta, Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo, Cross Rivers, Ondo and Akwa Ibom states yesterday accused the Federal Government of worsening the security situation by the frequent deployment of troops to the region.

The leaders who met yesterday in Warri, Delta State under the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) deliberated on the current insecurity situation in the region, especially the recent threat by Niger Delta Avengers to resume attack on oil facilities.

The meeting which was chaired by Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), former governor of Akwa Ibom State, with Chief Edwin Clark as chief host, blamed the Federal Government for the recent threat to the fragile peace in the Niger Delta by refusing to address the remaining 15 out of the 16 demands submitted to the presidency by PANDEF.

In a welcome address read by Prof. G.G. Darah, he said the issuance of statements by aggrieved Niger Delta groups to attack oil and gas facilities and the response of the government by deploying troops and weapons to the region, particularly Delta State, had again worsened the security situation in the region.

“Fear and tension have replaced the fragile peace in many oil producing communities in the riverine areas of the region, particularly in Delta State”, he said.

According to him, the emergency meeting will offer PANDEF the opportunity to work out strategies for restoring peace and stability for the development of “the oppressed and neglected region.”

Darah said the Niger Delta urgently needed peace and stability for sustainable development to take place. He urged the Federa Government to discontinue its use of force to intimidate and terrorize the exploited people of the region.

Chief Edwin Clark in his long speech at meeting wondered why the government kept making promises to the region and will not fulfill any of them.He said despite cries, the government had abandoned the Ogoni clean-up even though it claimed $1million was made available to Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC).

The Guardian

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