COMMUNIQUÉ ISSUED AT THE END OF THE 4TH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF PAN NIGER DELTA FORUM (PANDEF) HELD AT HOTEL PRESIDENTIAL PORT-HARCOURT, 25 -26TH OCT 2017
Leaders of the Niger Delta under the auspices of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), held its 4th General Assembly in Port Harcourt Rivers State 25th to 26th of October, 2017. The meeting had in attendance over 200 delegates comprising of key traditional rulers, leaders of thoughts, Academia, youth groups, women groups, and other critical stakeholders from all the states of the region.
2. The meeting had in attendance Chief E.K Clark, leader of PANDEF; HRM King Diete Spiff, Chairman of Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers and Former Military Governor of Old Rivers State; HE Air Cdre. Idongesit Nkanga, former Military Governor of Akwa Ibom State; HE Col. Peter A.M. Ogar Rtd, former Military Administrator of Kwara State; HE AVM Frank Ajobena, first Military Administrator of Abia State; Representative of Edo State Governor; HRM King WSJ Igbugburu X, former Chairman old Rivers State/Bayelsa Council of Traditional Rulers; Alabo Tonye Graham-Douglas, former Minister of Aviation; His Highness Anabs Sara –Igbe, amongst other dignitaries.
3. The General Assembly received and ratified the draft constitution of PANDEF, which was earlier approved by the General House at a special meeting held in Abuja on Friday, 28th July 2017.
4. The General Assembly also constituted a 12-man committee on zoning of offices and a 6-man Electoral committee for elections into positions within the organization ahead of its forthcoming elections.
5. The General Assembly however, noted with concern the unwarranted disruption of the meeting, including the cordoning-off of Hotel Presidential by an unprecedented deployment of security personnel from the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Police Force. Therefore, the meeting was unable to fully discuss other issues, which, consistent with the PANDEF Mission, includes amongst others, ‘Fostering peaceful coexistence, inter ethnic harmony and understanding, as well as the use of lawful and nonviolent means for justice and equity for ourselves and our progeny and the struggle for fairness, justice, and, to promote good governance, development and welfare of our people’
6. The General Assembly considers the attempts by agencies of the Federal Government to forcefully stop such a high level gathering of leaders of the Niger Delta region as totally unacceptable and a very disturbing precedent in our democratic evolution and flagrant denigration of our constitutional guarantees on the right of peaceful assembly and free movement.
7. This is more disturbing when it is known that meetings of this nature by leaders of other Geo political zones such as AREWA Consultative forum, Afenifere, Ohaneze Ndigbo and the likes have never in the history of the Country been subjected to such humiliation and show of high-handedness.
8. Furthermore, the General Assembly considers the action of the FG insensitive. When it is considered that at the height of resumed militancy in the Niger Delta in 2016, and its negative impact on the national economy which saw the fall in oil production to an unprecedented low of 800,000bopd. It was the timely intervention of PANDEF that ensured the return to peace and stability. This brought about a surge in production of oil to the present level of 2.35million bpd and free flow of gas to our power plants and industries. This at present price brings in over USD115 million (about 36 billion Naira) daily.
9. The General Assembly, however, calls on the people of the Niger Delta, in particular, the youth, to remain law abiding and maintain calm despite these acts of intimidation and provocation.
10. The General Assembly further calls on the federal government to offer an explanation on this show of hostility mounted against the elders and leaders of the region, which PANDEF represents.
11. The General Assembly noted with appreciation the information of the offer of the governor of rivers state, HE Barr. Nyesom Wike to host the 5th General Assembly of PANDEF at a date to be agreed.
Done in Port Harcourt this day, 26th October 2017.
Chief Dr. E.K. Clark, OFR, CON
National Leader PANDEF