The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has commended the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) for spearheading a national discourse on issues of neglect, underdevelopment, restiveness and environmental despoliation which have been the lot of the Niger Delta region to enable the present administration proffer solutions.
Governor Emmanuel gave the commendation at the General Assembly of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) held in Uyo, the state capital.
He said, “The forum which comprises of statesmen and resourceful women, represent the voice of the Niger Delta people in the articulation of issues and concerns of the region, to ensure the realization and implementation of the 16 point agenda which the forum had earlier agreed with the Federal Government.
“This August, eminent group of leaders gathered to bring the issues and concerns of the region to the Nigerian State with a view to ensuring that the 16 Point Agenda that was earlier agreed upon will be met and implemented by the Nigerian Government”.
The Governor pointed out that Niger Delta which is the economic life wire of the nation has not received the corresponding prosperity it has brought to the Nigerian State, adding that, neglect, despoliation of the environment, disruption of aquatic life and high handed military operations have been the reward for the blessing nature which was generously given to the region.
Governor Emmanuel noted that the tour of Niger Delta region undertaken by Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, and the Ogoni cleanup was aimed at addressing the problem of the region and enlisted the support of all to enable the Federal government achieve its goal.
“The tour of the region undertaken by the then Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo to our region deserves our commendation.
“I know and believe that President Mohammadu Buhari genuinely wants to address the problems of the area once and for all, and he deserves our support”, the governor stated.
He further emphasized the need for Niger Delta region to collaborate in the establishment of Petrochemical Industries and embark on ventures that could generate income to sustain the region.
Earlier, the Coordinator, Local Organizing Committee, Uyo Chapter of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Mr Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, identified dialogue as key to sustainable peace, development and security in the Niger Delta region.
He advised youths to refrain from using violence to register their grievance and applauded Governor Emmanuel for assisting the forum to achieve its goals.
In a welcome address, the leader and Convener of the Forum, Mr Edwin Clark, stated that, “The gathering was necessitated by the need to appraise activities of PANDEF and deliberate on issues affecting the Niger Delta region and the country at large”.
He emphasized that the issue of restructuring was the panacea to the problems of the country and commended the Vice President, Prof. Osinbajo, for visiting the Niger Delta states to get a firsthand information on the deplorable state of the area.
Mr Clark used the occasion to commend President Buhari for taking steps to address issues which are detrimental to the region saying that the gesture would foster peace, development and unity in the country.