Elder statesman and National Leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark, has appealed to the militant group, Niger Delta Avengers, to shield its threat to recommence bombing of oil facilities in the region.
He said resorting to violence was not the solution to the problem facing the region.
Recall that the NDA had on Friday vowed to crush everything on its path until a united Niger Delta is achieved.
Reacting to the development, Chief Clark, however, accused a powerful minister from the region, a former governor and a top presidency official, for the October 26 disruption of the forum’s fourth general assembly in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, regretting that even now, government has not explained its action.
He said it was untrue that PANDEF was a pro-PDP organization, saying, “PANDEF is not partisan, it is neither PDP nor APC. Those peddling the rumour are unpatriotic and liars.”
Clark said that it was disappointing, insulting and annoying for some selfish people in the region and government officials to insult him for his efforts to find peace in the region, maintaining that he had volunteered himself and would not turn back.
He said, “It is very absurd for one to be insulted both by your own people who are monetary-minded, unpatriotic and by government, but we cannot run away from our responsibility. Whatever happened between February and August last year, regarding pipeline bombing was not in anybody’s favour.
“That was why some of us came out, we convened a meeting of Niger Delta elders, leaders, monarchs and stakeholders at the Petroleum Training Institute, PTI, Effurun, Warri. Over 500 people attended the meeting. The governor of Delta state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, addressed the meeting, which was the beginning of PANDEF.
“We, therefore, appealed to the youths to cease hostilities, that we would negotiate on their behalf and they accepted. On November 1, 2016, I led over 100 delegates to meet Mr. President. We called for dialogue and submitted our 16-point demand.
“Unfortunately, government, either deliberately or lack of knowledge, did not understand the 16-point programme because they are running away from it and the programme contains almost everything we wanted. One of them is the Nigerian Maritime University, NMU, Okerenkoko, which the Federal Government had accepted would open by September or October.
“In the last meeting we held with the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, he said that N2 billion had been set aside for the take-off of the university and that he was meeting with the management staff. Unfortunately, we are now in November. What is holding the university from taking off?
“It is either the government is not serious or some fifth columnists in government are sabotaging its plan. Otherwise, we had a three-hour meeting with Osinbajo as Acting President on August 3 where far-reaching decisions were reached.”