From: Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has threatened to pull out of peace negotiations with the Federal Government if it does not address its 16-point.
It accused the Federal Government of not reciprocating the efforts of elders in the region to stabilise oil production and help the country out of recession, insisting that government has not demonstrated enough faith in the peace process.
National Leader/Co-Convener of PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark, made this declaration at a press conference, in Abuja, on Monday, giving the Federal Government ultimatum of November 1, 2017 to meet their demands.
November 1 would make it exactly one year the group submitted 16-Point Agenda to President Muhammadu Buhari- led by Clark and King Alfred Diete Spiff, who co-chairs the group.
While acknowledging that Acting President Yemi Osinbajo had given a firm commitment after his visit to the region, Clark regretted that the government has failed to take steps to implement what was agreed upon thereby putting Niger Delta leaders under pressure from their people.
He said: “I wish to urge the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, implement the pronouncements made by the Acting President, His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN), during his fact-finding visits to the Niger Delta Region, and to set up, without delay, the Federal Government Dialogue Team to engage PANDEF, towards resolving the pending issues contained in the Forum’s 16-Point Demands on behalf of the people of the Niger Delta Region, by, or before, November 1, 2017 (one year anniversary of our meeting with His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari.
“Human endurance has a limit beyond which one cannot predict what the outcome will be.
“We submitted a 16-point Demand to Mr. President on November 1, 2016, and we had expected that by its next anniversary, the 16-Point Agenda would have been comprehensive sorted out.
“If, at the expiration of the November 1, 2017 ultimatum, the Federal Government fails and/or refuses to accede to these lawful and legitimate demands of the Niger Delta people, PANDEF may consider pulling out of the ongoing peace process in the Niger Delta.”
Clark while accusing government of not demonstrating enough faith in the peace process said, “Unfortunately, however, it is a matter of regret to note that, the efforts of PANDEF to help Nigeria climb out of recession through a stable oil and gas production regime, have not been met with tangible reciprocal action by the Federal Government.
“Indeed, through PANDEF intervention, the people of the Niger Delta Region have demonstrated tremendous patriotism and goodwill towards the current Administration.
“This is in spite of our being placed at a disadvantaged and marginalized position, even on issues concerning the oil and gas industry.”