Tony Osauzo, Benin
Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has urged governors of the South-South region to, as a matter of urgency, meet and organise a similar regional security and development initiative as done in the South-West, saying the whole of the Niger Delta is facing an existential threat.
The body said it is ready with a regional security blueprint and would submit to the governors as they meet, even as it called on the South-South governors to reactivate the BRACED Commission to fast track socio-economic development in the region.
These were part of the resolutions contained in a communique issued by PANDEF at the end of its expanded National Executive Committee meeting which held in Benin City at the weekend.
It restated its earlier position on the establishment of the South-West joint Security Initiative, Amotekun, and further commended the governors and people of the South-West on their resolute stand on the initiative.
PANDEF rejected outright plans by the Federal Government to establish nuclear reactor plants in the Niger Delta, but restated its position on restructuring and called on the Federal Government to as a matter of urgency begin a constructive dialogue process on the restructuring of the country to guarantee harmonious and peaceful co-existence.
The communique signed by the PANDEF National Chairman, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd), noted with interest a report that the Senate had set up a committee to tinker with the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, but warned that the process should not be schemed to divert citizens’ attention from the clamour for restructuring.
It decried the poor state of infrastructure in the Niger Delta, particularly roads, and called on the federal and state governments to take urgent steps to address the dearth of infrastructure in the region, particularly the completion of all sections of the East-West road as well as the commencement of work on the coastal road railway from Lagos to Calabar.
PANDEF cautioned against the plan by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to divert the floating dock that was to be situated at Okerenkoko in Delta State, saying that it considers the plan as another attempt to further deny the region of needed economic boost and critical training component in support of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko.
The South-South regional body, however, restated its commitment to engage with all critical stakeholders of the region, irrespective of political inclination, in its efforts to foster unity, lasting peace, security and sustainable development of the region for the benefit of present and future generations.