COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE THIRD GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE PAN NIGER DELTA FORUM (PANDEF) HELD ON FRIDAY THE 9th OF DECEMBER, 2016, AT ORCHID HOTEL, ASABA, DELTA STATE
The PAN NIGER DELTA FORUM (PANDEF) held its third General assembly on Friday 9th of December 2016 at Orchid Hotel, Asaba, which had in attendance 200 delegates representing various enthic nationalities and states of the region. The Genral assembly was addressed by the Governor of Delta state, His Excellency (Sen.) Dr Ifeanyi Okowa (Represented by the honouorable Commissioner, Governor’s Office, Dr Henry Afure Sakpra) and PANDEF’S National Leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark. Others in Attendence were HRM King Alfred DIete Spiff, the Amanayabo of Twon Brass and Co-Chairmanof the PANDEF Central Working Committee (CWC) as well as other key Traditional Ruler, Elders and Leaders of Thought from the region, Representatives of Women, youth and civil society Organization.
The General Assembly reviewed the overall prevailing political and economic situation in the country; in particular the recent development in the Niger Delta leading to processess culminating in the meeting with Mr president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His excellency Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR) on the 1st of November 2016, and various steps so far taken by PANDEF.
At the General Assembly, the following resolutions were passed:
The Security Situation in the Niger Delta
- PANDEF reiterates its avowed resolve and commitment to dialogue as the preferred means of solution of the crisis in the Niger Delta region and expresses its deepest concern that the Federal Government has not showed enough readiness to embrace such dialogue through the setting up of its own Negotiating Team. PANDEF, therefore, calls on the federal Government to as a matter of urgency, set up its team to negotiate with PANDEF.
- PANDEF reiterates its belief that military Operation cannot be the means to resolving the lingering issues stemming from age-old neglect and injustice in the Niger Delta Region. It, therefore reiterates its worry that ‘Operation crocodile Smile , Operation Python Dance etc can only exacerbate the agitations, human right abuses and overall insecurity in the Region and calls for the immediate halt to such activities.
- PANDEF received reports of the escalating military build-up and indiscriminate military operations in the Niger delta region and condemns the recent military raids in several Niger Delta communities including the reported indiscriminate shooting, mass arrest of youth and destruction of properties of innocent villagers in Yeghe Community , in Ogoni , Rivers state on the 15th November 2016; Okosugbene fishing Camp aka 9000, Burutu LG and sandfield 11, warri south LG , both of Delta State, on the 24th of November, 2016.
- PANDEF calls on all Niger Deltans especially the youth that in spite of these unfortunate developments, they should not be provoked into taking any action that could disrupt the existing peace which had helped to raise crude oil production in Nigeria from 900 bopd to the present 2.2m bopd as recently confirmed by the Minister of State Petroleum Resources.
The question of Derivation and Revenue Allocation
- PANDEF calls on the FG and the national Assembly to commence forthwith the process of constitutional amendment to return the principles of derivation to the original position of 50% as was agreed upon the founding fathers of this country, as was properly entrenched both in section 133 of 1960 constitution and section 134 of the 1963 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria respectively. This arrangement also received the positive consideration of the 2005 and 2014 national conferences.
- PANDEF re-emphasizes that the return to the original revenue allocation principles, as severally negotiated and agreed as a pre-condition for Nigeria’s independence, remains the only foreseeable instrument for equity, justice, fairness, true sense of belonging, lasting peace and harmony in the country as government accelerates efforts at the development of oil, gas and solid mineral Resources in other parts of the country.
- PANDEF calls on Governments of states in the Region to take action to enforce that a minimum of 50% of all funds under the present 13% derivation be directly deployed to the oil and gas communities in the various states originally intended through the requisite legislations. This is to engender development in affected communities, and also mitigate the adverse impact of the hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation activities, and thereby help in ensuring the immediate securing of the economic critical assets in the various affected communities, which have recently come under attack.
- PANDEF also calls on the federal government to immediately refund to states the under payments of the 13% derivation from May 29, 2015 to date.
- PANDEF calls on all Governors of the Niger Delta states, Local Government Chairmen, Officials and functionaries of the respective State Governments to redouble efforts to judiciously and transparently utilize such resources, which come into the region in a more focused manner for economic and social development of the people of the region and remind them of the need to resuscitate the erstwhile efforts at regional integration and unity.
- PANDEF notes with serious concern the unfortunate developments in the ongoing police recruitment exercise, which had been skewed in favour of some parts of the country. The resort to a recruitment process that relies on local Governments units for consideration, instead of the 36 States as federating units in addition to Abuja, the federal capital, is totally unacceptable precedence.
- PANDEF, therefore calls on Mr. President to direct Police Service Commission and headquarters of Nigeria Police Force to immediately suspend the ongoing exercise, withdraw the published list of short –listed candidates, and do what is right and nationally acceptable.
- PANDEF appreciate once more the steps taken by the federal Government, which resulted in the formal lunch of the Ogoni Cleanup in the aftermath of the UNEP report, and the devastation of the environment of the Niger Delta region arising from the activities of the oil industries. However, the present lull in activities with respect to the cleanup as well its extension to other parts of the Niger Delta region is of great concern; and need to be addressed urgently.
Rivers State Election
- PANDEF notes the arrangements made for rerun of the rivers state legislative election and calls on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and security agencies to live up to their promises of ensuring fairness and professionalism.
- PANDEF calls on all sides in the elections, particularly leaders of political parties, to eschew the language of threat and the resort to the use of violence. The sanctity of the lives of all rivers state peoples must be maintained and guaranteed by the federal Government during the Period of the Elections.
Take off of the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko
- PANDEF urges the Federal GOVERNMENT to direct immediate takeoff of the Nigeria maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta state as a follow-up to its recent policy statement on the issue during the visit of PANDEF to Mr. President on the 1st of November 2016. This will give enormous credibility and commitment to the proposed dialogue process.
PANDEF thanks the governor of Delta state, His Excellency, Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, for the warm Hospitality accorded its delegates from across the region and for providing a conducive atmosphere for the meeting. The General Assembly also reaffirmed its confidence in the leadership of Chief (Dr.) E. K Clark and appreciated his tireless contributions to peace in the Niger Delta.
Done in Asaba , 9th December 2016
Senator, Chief (Dr.) Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, Convener /Leader PANDEF
HRM King Alfred Diete Spiff, Co-Chairman, Central Working Committee, PANDEF
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