Ben Dunno, Warri
National leader of the Pan Niger Delta Elders Forum (PANDEF) Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark has berated the Federal Government of Nigeria for failing to keep the Abuja peace accords reached with leaders of the region on November 1, 2016, in the aftermath of escalation of militancy in the erstwhile troubled region.
Addressing newsmen on Wednesday at his Kiagbodo country home in Burutu local government area of Delta State, Clark, a prominent Ijaw national leader, scored the federal government low in meeting up with the 16-point agenda presented to it by representatives of Niger Delta elders during the peace parley.
He said that, besides the takeoff of the Maritime University in Gbaramatu, Warri South West local government area, the federal government had shown a lack of commitment to the rest of the demands put forward by regional elders.
Clark reminded the federal government it was the intervention of PANDEF that led to the current peace in the region, which has led to an increase in oil revenue was, as he urged the Buhari administration to show more commitments to the group’s demands to sustain the peace.
According to him: “It is on record that our intervention in the direction of peace and security has continued to help the national economy and contributed substantially to the exit out of recession. From a drop in the oil production to 800,000 barrels per day in 2016, today the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) is producing over 2.3 million barrels a day.”
“It was the NNPC that also announced just four days ago that its gas supply to the power sector is now 88/89 percent higher, following a near total stoppage of vandalism of pipelines. This has substantially boosted power supply to the entire country.”
“Also, according to the Vice President Prof Yemi Osinbajo, our efforts have also helped to shore up the external reserves from N30 billion in 2016 to nearly N50 billion at present. So, the question is, how has this been reciprocated in terms of impact on the Niger Delta region and the people?”
While urging President Buhari to give consideration to PANDEF’s contributions to sustainable peace in the region, he warned of an imminent collapse of peace should the federal government remain insensitive to the demands of the region.
“If we fail to provide rational and realistic intervention, we leave room for decadents to further devise trajectories for unorthodox altercations,” Chief Clark warned.
Some of PANDEF’s demands in the 16-points agenda include: the relocation of the headquarters of the multinational oil companies back to the region, infrastructural development, and licensing for the building of modular refineries.
Others are: allocation of oil blocks to indigenes, the cleanup of Ogoniland, addressing the welfare of indigenes, adherence to the Local Content Act, and job creation for unemployed abled bodied youths, among other demands.