Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark
All hopes seems not lost in the crisis in the Niger Delta region, as there are positive indications that the militant groups have agreed to dialogue with the Federal Government.
Leaders and traditional rulers from the six coastal communities in Niger Delta on Friday set up a negotiation team to meet with the Federal Government on behalf of militants in the region.
This was contained in a communiqué issued after a one-day stakeholders’ meeting held at the PTI Conference Centre Effurun, Delta State.
The communiqué, which was signed by the Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, was read by Prof. G.G Darah, called on militants in the region to stop further attacks on oil facilities.
The negotiation team, whose members were not immediately disclosed in the communiqué, would begin work beginning from yesterday (Friday) and it would speak on behalf of the various militant groups in the region.
It also said there was the need for the restructuring of the country in line with the recommendations of the 2014 National Conference held in Abuja.
The meeting resolved to establish a pan-Niger Delta Platform that could speak on behalf of the region.
The meeting further resolved to set up the platform with effect from Friday.
The communiqué read, “Any platform for talk and negotiation should be all-emB.racing, involving all the ethnic nationalities and interest groups in the region to holistically address the problems.
“The meeting also resolved to support the popular demand for the restructuring of the nation’s political system as recommended by the 2014 National Conference. The practice of equitable fiscal federalism is a precondition for sustainable peace and development of our country.”
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, who was among the dignitaries at the stakeholders’ meeting, urged traditional rulers and leaders in the region to wake up to the responsibilities of prevailing on youths to cease further attacks on oil facilities.
The attacks, the governor said, were having serious degradation on the environment even far more than what oil companies operating in the region had caused.
Okowa explained that though the grievances of the people were not out of place, but taking arms to destroy national assets sited in the region was condemnable.