Withdraw ultimatum, embrace peace, PANDEF tells New Avengers
*Says 13% derivation be used to develop oil producing communities
Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has appealed to New Delta Avengers to withdraw the ultimatum given and give peace a chance, stressing that action taken by the group would have adverse national consequence and may jeopardize the seemingly good intentions the Federal Government has for the Niger Delta region.
PANDEF appeal is sequel to an open letter by New Delta Avengers to President Muhammad Buhari in which the group threatened to destroy the nation’s vital assets in the region.
The said letter tittled “HOLD GOV. OKOWA RESPONSIBLE FOR ATTACKS” was published on major national dailies June 14, 2017.
A statement signed by Chief (Dr) E.K Clark says “PANDEF is genuinely disturbed by this publication which has come amidst the prevailing turmoil occasioned by some ethnic agitations in our dear country, Nigeria.”
Clark further said, worried by the allegations canvassed by the New Delta Avengers, and coupled with their threat of destruction of vital national asset, PANDEF cannot fold its arms but to intervene and sue for understanding of all.
According to him, any destructive action carried out in the region would further damage the already degraded economic and environmental conditions the Niger Delta region suffers.
The PANDEF convener said the relative peace and improvement in the country’s revenue earnings earned through PANDEF’s visit to President Muhammadu Buhari on November 1st, 2016, where 16-point agenda was presented to the Federal Government must not be jeopardized.
Chief Clark further said PANDEF’s visit resulted in some positive pronouncements by the Federal Government, including opening of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, which is being implemented, proposed establishment of Modular Refineries, pipeline surveillance and asking oil companies to relocate their headquarters to the region, so as to engage the youths.
“This is coupled with some positive pronouncements by the Federal Government such as the opening of the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, which is being implemented, and the promise for the establishment of Modular Refineries, pipeline surveillance and asking the oil companies to relocate their headquarters to the region, so as to engage the youths”, Chief Cark added.
According to him, “PANDEF’s position remains the equitable utilization of the 13% derivation fund which must be applied for the benefit of host communities producing oil and gas.
“PANDEF insists that the 13% Derivation which is being paid from the Federation Account is meant for the development of the oil producing communities and not to be used for any other purpose. We note that this issue of 13% Derivation Fund and it’s misapplication by the State Governors started many years ago.
“We have also observed that only the Governments of Delta, Edo and Ondo States have established Commissions to manage the funds, whereas Rivers, Bayelsa and Cross River States have refused to establish such Commissions.
“Every attempt to request these State Governments to establish these Commissions and implement the purpose of the setting up of the 13% Derivation Fund have failed for over 10 years now.”
While stating that his statement becomes imperative as convener of PANDEF, father, and as a person concerned about the safety, welfare and future of the Niger Delta, the Ijaw National Leader said PANDEF was making everything possible to make sure all issues raised in their 16-point agenda were implemented by the the Federal Government.