CSOs berate PANDEF over comment on Niger Delta development
A group of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) has taken a swipe at Pan Niger Delta Development Forum (PANDEF) for its recent outburst against President Muhammadu Buhari alleging that he abandoned the Niger Delta development plan under the Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP).
In a statement dated December 5, 2018, the group, known as Delta State Civil Society Organisations for Good Governance (DECGOG), a non-profit, non-partisan platform of registered civil society organisations working to promote the achievement of good governance, peace and security, as well as sustainable development goals in Nigeria, said that though the implementation might be slow, but not abandoned as claimed by PANDEF.
“The Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP), which was developed by an inter-ministerial committee comprising directors from various federal ministries, departments and agencies, and PANDEF representatives, which is to complement Federal Government’s efforts in co-ordinating development intervention in Niger Delta, is still much alive. Though the implementation process is slow in progression, the project has not been abandoned by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo,” the statement said.
The group, while lauding the President and his deputy for their political will to implement policies that will lead to the development of the region, called on all stakeholders to support the efforts of the government to develop the area through the Niger Delta new vision and SIWP, which is a demonstration of that commitment.
It, however, stressed the need for adequate funding of projects and budget appropriation to the relevant government agencies, as this is crucial to the implementation of the SIWP.
It also urged PANDEF and other stakeholders in the region to support Buhari’s efforts, saying: “The Niger Delta new vision, which is aimed at developing the region, was framed after the Vice President’s visit to the region in 2017. Prior to the visit, President Muhammadu Buhari had met with PANDEF leaders so as to address concerns in the region. Also, in 2017 to address issues of socio-economic instability in the Niger Delta, an inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Vice President was set up.
“It is baffling and misleading, therefore, for PANDEF to say that the SIWP has been abandoned when it is surely on the front-burner of discourse by the Presidency in its engagement with stakeholders on its implementation going forward. The SIWP consists of short-term, medium and long-term projects with core focus on 13 development strategic objectives for the region as contained in the Federal Government’s 20-point and PANDEF’s 16-point agenda.”