Ijaw Elder Statesman Edwin Clark has warned that attacks and destruction of oil and gas infrastructure by militants will not be in the interest of the people of Niger Delta,
He said the elders would send a delegation to meet with Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) to douse the tension created by the group’s threat to resume hostilities in the region.
He appealed to the militants to maintain the existing peace in the Niger Delta region as dialogue with the Federal Government continues.
Clark made the appeal when a delegation of the Federal Government led by the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Brig-Gen. Paul Boroh (Rtd) visited him in his Abuja home on Sunday.
Reacting to the threat by the NDA to resume hostilities in the Niger
Delta region with destruction to oil and gas facilities, Clark said: “ We are appealing to the NDA not to resume hostilities. ”
“They are our children and they mandated us to negotiate with
the federal government on their behalf . They have to be patient and give us time to do so successfully.
“Any resumption of hostilities will not be in the interest of our people.
This is not the time to resume hostilities. It is true that the federal government has not been quite serious about the negotiations, but we are asking the NDA to maintain the peace.
“We have pleaded with them and we are sending a delegation to meet with them.”
According to him, the major grouse of the Avengers was the disruption of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) meeting in Port Harcourt.
Clark said with the explanation by Boroh, there were assurances that the dialogue is back on track. He announced that the PANDEF which he leads, will be meeting in Warri soon.
He reiterated that Boroh is doing a good job as Adviser to the President and Coordinator of PAP in asking the federal government to adequately fund the Amnesty Programme and to release all its budgeted funds.
Clark, however told Boroh “ You are like the bridge between us and the federal government and we are willing to give you all the support you need.”
Earlier also, the Coordinator, Presidential Amnesty Programme(PAP), Boroh disclosed that the disruption of the Federal Government meeting with Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) in Port Harcourt was due to communication gap.
Boroh, explained to Chief Clark that the disruption of the PANDEF meeting was due to communication gap and assured that the Federal Government has a lot of respect for PANDEF which it regards as a major partner in the resolution of the Niger Delta challenge.
The presidential aide said the federal government would soon unfold the New Vision for Niger Delta Programme which would provide mass jobs opportunities for the youths and help fasten the development of the Region.
The militant group, which halted attacks on oil installations in the region, last year, following the appeal of the Niger Delta elders and leaders, renounced the ceasefire.
The group, in a statement by its spokesperson, self-styled “Maj-General Murdoch Agbinibo, disowned the Pan Niger Delta Forum.
PANDEF is led by the former Federal Commissioner for Information, Chief Edwin Clark, ex-militant leader, Chief Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, and the Reformed Niger Delta Avengers, RNDA.