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Niger Delta leaders to meet Buhari, disown PANDEF


King Okpoitari Diongoli

Niger Delta leaders, under the auspices of the Pan Niger Delta Peoples Congress (PNDPC) has again disassociated themselves from the Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Peoples Forum (PANDEF), saying they are meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, to present a new template for lasting peace in the region.

The PNDPC, a new body, reportedly mandated by the coalition of Niger Delta agitators, youths and people of the region to speak with the Federal Government on behalf of the region, said the meeting with the presidency would hold this month.

At a meeting held at the palace of Ibedaowei of Opokuma Kingdom, King Okpoitari Diongoli, in Opokuma, Bayelsa State, yesterday, the National Chairman, PNDPC, Charles Ayemi-Botu, said the new body was put in place to fight for the people of the region through dialogue with the presidency.


Ayemi-Botu, who is a former national chairman of traditional rulers of oil minerals producing communities of Nigeria and paramount ruler of Seimbiri kingdom, said the body was out with a new focus.The PNDPC boss stated: ‘’This is an all-encompassing Niger Delta people, who in consonance with our sons and daughters, agitating in the creeks, have come together to see how we can provide a lasting solution to the age-long marginalisation and problems of the region.

‘’This body is independent of any other body. We have set up a strategic planning committee and after a month, we are now ready with our own vision and mission. We have just gone through it, circulated it among our members and in our subsequent meeting, we are going to adopt it and the world we know what we stand for.’’

In his remarks, the National Coordinator of the new body, Chief Mike Loyibo, said the body was not out to fight any group but to advance the peace, security and development of the region.

Loyibo stated: ‘‘our mission is to see how we can advance the fulcrum of the Niger Delta people.‘’We are not a political party, we have activists, clergy men, opinion leaders and we came together when we realised that there was a problem about leadership.’’

Meanwhile, a retired Police Commissioner, Chief Ayo Aduba, has said that the Federal Government and the military overreacted by tagging the Independent People of Biafra (IPOB) a terrorist group.

According to him, the decision of the Federal Government to isolate IPOB and tagging it a terrorist group would further polarize the country and that is not good enough for its continued existence. He said: “The Federal Government should have treated the IPOB issue in a civil manner.”

He disclosed that under Internal Security Operations, the military is overstepping its bounds as it concerns the IPOB and Boko Haram issues because; it cannot profile and release a suspect. The right thing the military should have done is to hand over the suspect to the police. Anything short of this would amount to the military usurping the functions of the police on the issue of internal security of the country, he added.

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