The Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has threatened to terminate its peace deal with the federal government if its demands were not met by November 1, 2017.
On November 1, 2016, the group had presented a 16-point list of demands to the federal government as part of efforts to restore normalcy to the Niger-Delta, after a resurgence of militancy and bombing of oil installations.
At the meeting, the group among other demands asked the government to allocate oil blocks to natives of the region.
According to PANDEF, virtually all the oil blocks or marginal oil fields in the country were owned by people outside Niger Delta
The government promised to look into their demands.
Speaking with journalists in Abuja on Monday, PANDEF co-convener, Edwin Clark, said the government had not shown sincerity in its negotiations with the group.
He said: “I wish to urge the federal government to, as a matter of urgency, implement the pronouncements made by the acting president, His Excellency, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, GCON, during his fact-finding visits to the Niger Delta Region, and to set up, without delay, the federal government dialogue team to engage PANDEF, towards resolving the pending issues contained in the forum’s 16-point demands on behalf of the people of the Niger Delta region, by, or before, November 1, 2017 (one year anniversary of our meeting with His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari).
“Human endurance has a limit beyond which one cannot predict what the outcome will be.
“We submitted a 16-point demand to Mr President on November 1, 2016, and we had expected that by its next anniversary, the 16-point agenda would have been comprehensive sorted out.
“If at the expiration of the November 1, 2017, ultimatum the federal government fails and/or refuses to accede to these lawful and legitimate demands of the Niger Delta people, PANDEF may consider pulling out of the ongoing peace process in the Niger Delta.
“Unfortunately, however, it is a matter of regret to note that, the efforts of PANDEF to help Nigeria climb out of recession through a stable oil and gas production regime, have not been met with tangible reciprocal action by the federal government.
“Indeed, through PANDEF intervention, the people of the Niger Delta region has demonstrated tremendous patriotism and goodwill towards the current administration.
“This is in spite of our being placed at a disadvantaged and marginalised position, even on issues concerning the oil and gas industry.
“I have been beset with statistics on the level of marginalisation against indigenes of host communities in the Niger Delta in the area of indigenous oil and gas concessions and their directors/shareholders.”
“I am shocked to discover that virtually all the oil blocks or marginal oil fields in the country are owned by northerners, and their counterparts in other parts of Nigeria, who are mostly south-westerners and south-easterners,” he said.
“I have a duty to draw the attention of the federal government to the marginalisation and neglect of the region.
“We advocate strongly that there must be a deliberate review to involve qualified indigenes of the oil and gas host communities in top-middle-level positions as well as in the allocation of oil literate blocs/marginal fields in the oil and gas industry.
“It is ridiculous that the people of oil producing communities in the Niger Delta are not millionaires, not to talk of billionaires, in the oil industry.
“Yet when oil was not discovered in the Niger Delta, we were wealthy fishermen, farmers, traders and timber merchants and so on.
“And when we now cry out, we are labelled as ‘troublemakers, ‘militants’ ‘terrorists.’ But now, it is people from faraway places, where oil and gas are not produced that are rich Nigerians. Why?”