Niger Delta must benefit from its resources, says PANDEF

Femi Folaranmi,Yenagoa

The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), on Tuesday, said the people of the Niger Delta must benefit maximally from resources derived from the region through a restructured Nigeria, to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the region.

National Chairman of PANDEF, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), stated this during the second national executive committee meeting and inauguration of the Bayelsa State chapter of the Forum led by its Chairman, Chief Thompson. K. Okorotie, at the Traditional Rulers Council in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital.

Nkanga note that the Forum is aware of the myriad of challenges facing the country, hence, it has joined forces with Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo, the Middle Belt Forum and recently, the Northern Elders Forum, in clamouring for the restructuring of the country, as espoused in its 16-point agenda, which include fiscal federalism.

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He pointed out that Nigeria cannot be a first class country with second class citizens, stressing the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to commence the process of restructuring the country so as to accommodate all ethnic groups/nationality.

Nkanga’s woprds, “The main issue that we have spoken about in Ibadan, Yenagoa, Akwa and Makurdi had been that Nigeria has to be restructured so that everybody would be accommodated where there is no first class or second class citizens.

“PANDEF has made giant strides. We have been able to collaborate with similar bodies in other zones of the country which is largely because we are aware that Nigeria is not standing erect.

“It is the desire of the people of the Niger Delta to be properly accommodated in the Nigerian nation. You have the envious position of being the first state executives to be inaugurated”.

In his acceptance speech, Chief T. K. O. Okorotie said the Federal Government should take the initiative and make concerted efforts to urgently restructure the country, which must be done in a gradual process to make room for adjustments.

He described the task ahead of the state chapter as ‘a worthy mission’, while lamenting the cap-in-hand attitude of states, who have failed or outrightly refused develop and exploit their own resources, but instead depend on the oil and gas produced in the Niger Delta.