On Saturday, 23rd April 2022, the Niger Delta Congress unveiled the Niger Delta Peoples Charter to the general public for the first time since its adoption at the Niger Delta Peoples Conference which held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on 8th October 2021.
The Niger Delta Peoples Charter is a harmonisation of all charters and declarations from the Niger Delta such as The Ogoni Bill of Rights, the Kaiama Declaration, etc.
Speakers at the event include: Chief Barr. Robinson Ariyo, The Egogo of Warri Kingdom; Dr. Charles Oyibo of the Department of Geography and Environmental Management, Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State; and Nubari Saatah, President of the Niger Delta Congress (NDC).
At the end of the event, the Delta State Chairman of the NDC, Comrade Destiny Noritsego, moved a motion for the adoption of 23rd April as the Niger Delta Day to be commemorated yearly, and the motion was unanimously adopted by all ethnic nationality representatives present.
The signing of the Charter will continue across the Niger Delta with signatories already including HRM King Alfred Papapreye Diete-Spiff, and Emeritus Professor of History, Ebiegberi Joe Alagoa, Engr Andah Olu Wai-Ogosu, Chief Barr. Robinson Ariyo, etc.
The NDC was first formed by chiefs and elders of the ethnic nationalities of the region in the then Eastern Region as a political party. Led by Chief Harold Dappa Biriye, it represented the interests of the Niger Delta at the constitutional conference preceding Nigeria’s independence. Chief amongst the agitation of the NDC was economic and political autonomy for minority nationalities that make up the Niger Delta. The NDC came to an end with the end of the first republic.
On December 26th 2019, the Niger Delta Congress was revived in Port Harcourt, as a movement to champion the socio-economic and socio-political struggles and agitations of the Niger Delta.
The NDC is founded on the need to protect the economic and political rights and freedoms of the different ethnic nationalities of the region, which have since before independence been assaulted by the Nigerian federation, in their bid to ensure complete domination and subjugation of the Niger Delta peoples, so as to ensure minimal resistance and the seamless looting and pillaging of the human and natural resources of the region.
The NDC, conscious of the sacrifices of heroes of the region—such as Major Isaac Adaka Boro who declared the short-lived Niger Delta Republic on 23rd February 1967 as a response to this injustice, the Ogoni 9 led by Ken Saro-Wiwa who were martyred on 10th November 1995, all in furtherance of the Delta peoples struggle for justice, and many others worthy of mention—believe that it will be a betrayal of these sacrifices if actionable steps are not taken to advance our collective struggle.
On this note the NDC called for and held an Extraordinary Stakeholders Meeting of Representatives of all Ethnic Nationalities of the Niger Delta in Port Harcourt the Rivers State capital on 16th May 2021. At the end of this meeting it was agreed that a peoples conference will be held to develop a charter to harmonise all existing charters, and by so doing unite the region towards achieving its hopes and aspirations.
The Niger Delta Peoples Conference held on Friday 8th October, 2021 at the Ijaw House in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, with representatives from the Ethnic nationalities in the Region. At the end of which, the draft Niger Delta Peoples Charter was adopted as a working document. The Niger Delta Peoples Charter as conceived by the NDC serves the purpose of laying the foundation of a new united Niger Delta, built on the land prepared by our heroes past.