Published On: Mon, Sep 26th, 2016

NIGER DELTA COSTAL STATES STAKEHOLDERS SUMMIT ORGANISED BY THE OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT, FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF NIGERIA

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The attention of the Leadership of the Pan-Niger Delta Coastal States Stakeholders’ Consultative Forum has been drawn to the circulation of Invitation Letters to some Niger Delta indigenes and others to a Niger Delta Stakeholders’ Summit slated for 26th and 27th September 2016 at the NAF Conference Centre, Abuja. Whilst we do not begrudge the right of any authority or persons to convene any talk shop, we feel concerned that serious issues of the Niger Delta should not be trivialized into some academic exercise. We also hold the view that the holding of such a Summit at this time is clearly contrary to the expectations of all right-thinking persons world-wide.

The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Federal Government for over six weeks, since cessation of hostilities as a result of the intervention by the traditional Rulers, Elders and leaders of the Niger Delta have not deem it fit to respond to the demands of the peoples of the Niger Delta for a credible and proper dialogue process.

We note with happiness that the Region has been relatively quiet and stable following the cease fire brokered by the leaders of the Region with the expectation that the Federal Government will urgently interface and commence negotiation with accredited representatives of the Niger Delta Region.

Rather than doing the needful, the Region has however, been over-militarized of its creeks and other spaces, which have resulted in claims of rapes, brutalization, incidental deaths and undue harassments suffered by our innocent sons and daughters during this period of the cease fire. Internally displaced people are now littered all over the place. However a significant achievement of the cease fire is the increase in the quantum of oil production of 1.7 mbpd, according to the Hon. Minister of State, Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachukwu.

We wish to state that almost a month has elapsed since militant groups in the region agreed to a 60-Day cessation of hostilities without the Federal Government constituting a negotiation team. Rather, the Office of the Vice President is organizing a Summit of Stakeholders purportedly for the Niger Delta. It is our considered opinion that for the Federal Government to contemplate a Summit of this nature, rather than proper dialogue and negotiations with leaders of the region is to trivialize the gravity of issues and opt for a cosmetic approach.

Any reasonable person looking at the title and composition of attendees, officials, subjects and speeches at the so-called summit, will discern that it is possible to replace the term Niger Delta with any other area of the country and it will not look odd. There is no Niger Deltan of any level representation there. Worse still, the Speakers at the Summit are mainly government officials, who should at best of times be listening to the people, instead of talking down to the people. In such a gathering, there are definitely no spaces for any meaningful discussions.

The point to note is that the Niger Delta crisis predates the present administration. In all the previous administrations, we never engaged in futile and cosmetic academic exercises as this Summit, to proffer solution to the Niger Delta agitations. It would be recalled that in 2008, a Conference of this nature was proposed and which was to be chaired by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari of the United Nations. Leaders and stakeholders of the Region rejected the conference due to the fact that there had been series of Reports of such Conferences, Summits and Technical Committees on the Niger Delta not implemented by the Federal Government. This was what led to setting up of a 45-man Technical committee, under the chairmanship of Barrister Ledum Mitee, to collate and align all various Reports on the Niger Delta. But after the death of President Umaru Yar’Adua, that exercise never saw the light of the day.

We wish to state in unambiguous terms that the issues confronting the Niger Delta do not require an academic exercise of this nature, masquerading as a Summit to proffer solution to the Niger Delta issues. Rather there should be a credible dialogue process between the Federal Government, the Oil companies and accredited and authorized representatives of the region.

In consideration of the above, we wish to state as follows:

  • That we reaffirm our collective resolve to only engage the Federal government through credible dialogue process with accredited representative of the Niger delta Region to proffer long-lasting solution to the protracted Niger delta insurgency and not a Summit of this type.
  • That the said summit is organized to down-play the factors of serious dialogue between the critical stakeholder who have the mandate and authority to negotiate with the Federal Government.
  • That due to the cessation of hostilities on our national assets by the armed agitators of the Niger Delta, Oil production has increased to 1.7mbpd and if the peace process is further deepened, with proper negotiation, the possibility of reaching peak national production targets is very realistic. Therefore, this should serve as an impetus to commence the negotiation process, rather than engaging in frivolities and trivialities. We are of the opinion that the Federal government should not unnecessarily take steps that could lead to a relapse to insurgency by its inaction.
  • That the same Federal government that feigns ignorance of whom to interface with is seen actively orchestrating false flag operations and sponsoring diverse bodied with the intent of dividing the Region’ already unified fronts and justifying a continuation of the balkanization of the region to facilitate uncontrolled access to its resources.
  • That the indigenes of the Niger Delta who are invited to the said Summit are free to exercise their democratic rights to association. However such attendees, do not represent the Pan-Niger Delta Stakeholders’ Forum and are not authorized or mandated to speak or represent same.
  • That the Niger delta calls on the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon, the United States President, Barrack Obama, The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Theresa May, the Russian President Vladimir Putin, the leaders of Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait and all African countries, to get Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, to see himself as President of all Nigeria, to give peace a sincere chance in order to expedite the escape of all Nigerians from obvious economic hardship that has befallen Nigeria since the resurgence of armed agitators within the Niger delta.
  • We also appeal to all the armed agitators to continue with the cessation of hostilities and to remain calm and peaceful, even in the face of obvious provocation.
  • As a people we are, still committed to the vision of a peaceful prosperous, united and restructured Nigeria where no one is oppressed.

 

SIGNED

Chief (Dr.) Edwin K. Clark

Sen. Roland Owie

Air Cdr. Idongisit Nkanga

Chief Isaac Jemide

Dr. Monday Okonny

Barr. Ledum Mitee

Sen. Bassey Ewa Henshaw

Chief Francis Doukpola

Alaowei Broderick Bozimo

Prof Lucky Akaruese

Mr. O’Mac Emakpore

High Chief Johnson Opone

Chief Timi Alaibe

Prof. G.G. Darah

Hon. Chief T.K.O Okorotie

Dr. Efiong Edunam

P.Z. Aginighan

Prince Maikpobi Okareme

Chief Douglas Naingba

Chief Simeon Efenudu

Dr. Emmanuel Akpanobong

Gen. Idadada Ikpowonwen (Rtd.)

Mrs. Marie Ebikake

Mr. Tony Uranta

Nella Ewa, SAN

Col Paul Ogbebor, (Rtd)

Chief Ogar

Chief Sir Ominimini Obiuwevbi, Ph.D

Chief Idu Amadhe

(SOURCE -VANGUARD)

 

 

 

 

 

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