Niger Delta blows hot


The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has condemned the rejection of devolution of powers by the National Assembly in its on-going Constitution amendment process that some particular sections of the country were antagonistic to the Niger Delta cause.

It, therefore, declared, “no restructuring, no Nigeria.” National Leader/Co-Convener of PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark, made the declaration at a press conference in Abuja, yesterday.

Last Thursday, 48 senators voted against devolution of powers, while 46 voted in support. PANDEF also threatened to pull out of peace negotiations with the Federal Government if it did not address its 16-point demand.

It gave government the November 1, 2017 ultimatum to meet the demands. The elder statesman said: “Suddenly, the word ‘restructuring’ has become a pain in the ears of a few champions of wicked hegemony.
“All we are saying is, let us go back to the negotiated 1960 Independence Constitution, on which the 1963 Republican Constitution was molded. “If there be anything wrong with that Constitution, it can become an issue to ameliorate, by amicable negotiations and consensus.
“Anything else is most obnoxious, and totally unacceptable to the peoples of the entire Southern and Middle Belt areas of Nigeria, as well as the growing numbers of well-meaning Nigerians from the Northern parts of the country.
“All we are saying is; ‘No Restructuring, no Nigeria.’”

Clark stressed that the people of the region believed in the corporate existence of Nigeria but regretted the antagonistic rhetoric from other parts of the country:
“You can therefore understand why some Northern elements are constantly opposed to any increase in the Derivation Formula of 13 percent under Section 162 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) during the Political Reform Conference of 2005, and the National Conference in 2014, where the Northern delegates vigorously opposed any increase in the derivation provision. This was responsible for our staging a walk-out from the conference.

“It is on record that, during the 2014 National Conference, prominent Northern delegates, again, opposed the increase of Derivation Revenue from 13 percent to 25 percent, but the conference eventually recommended 18 percent derivation revenue for oil producing states; and five percent for rebuilding the North East devastated by the insurgent activities.
“Some Northern delegates were opposed to it because Kano and Kaduna were not included.”

On the region’s 16-point agenda, Clark accused government of not reciprocating the efforts of elders in the region to stabilize oil production and help the country out of recession, insisting that government did not demonstrate enough faith in the peace process.
The 16-point demand was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari by a PANDEF delegation on September 1, 2015
Niger Delta blows hot Niger Delta blows hot Reviewed by Nene Sochi-Okereke on Tuesday, 1 August 2017 Rating: 5

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