Sylvester Idowu in Warri
As the leaders of the Niger Delta prepare to meet President Muhammadu Buhari next weekend, right groups under the platform of Pan Niger Delta Civil Societies Groups (PNDCSG), have charged members of the Pan Niger Delta Leaders Forum not to negotiate for their pockets as it used to be in the past.
They maintained that they must present the template in consonance with requests by militants in the region, particularly the restructuring of the country.
The groups, in a joint statement signed by their leaders and made available in Warri yesterday, warned leaders that will be meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari to eschew pursuit of personal interests and hammer on restructuring the country.
The groups included Niger Delta Security Watch Organisation of Nigeria, led by Dickson Bekederemo; Ijaw Human Rights Monitors, coordinated by Fred Brisibe; Ijaw Peoples Development Initiative, led by Austin Ozobo and Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade (FHRACC) presided over by Alaowei Cleric.
While lauding President Buhari for initiating the meeting, the groups asked leaders of the region to extricate from among them those having corruption charges hanging on their necks.
“Our hearts are filled with joy over the news that Mr. President is inviting Niger Delta leaders to commence the process of dialogue. This is what we have been yearning for.
“We therefore commend President Buhari for fixing a date to meet with the Pan Niger Delta group for peaceful resolution of the region’s questions. We advice that the federal government should usethis medium to give a finishing touch to the reoccurring debacles in the region.
“Those who are representing the region in the proposed meeting should on no account do their own biddings other than the template suggested by the militants.
Members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) have stated clearly that one of the template for dialogue is the restructuring of Nigeria into six regions.
“We want them to note that the militants also demanded as part of their suggested template for the dialogue is for the process to be mediated by home countries of all the multinational oil cooperation as well as other neutral international mediators. We therefore urge the Pan Niger-Delta group to stick to this template.
“Anything short of this will not be accepted by our generation,” the civil society groups warned.
The groups advised the leaders to shun the offers of free accommodation, travel expenses, free meals and other filthy lures that could portray unseriousness, but rather show sacrifice.
“We also believe that a man who is going for negotiation, will not have the prerogative to give the one who is paying his bills his own terms and conditions.
“On this note, we urge the leadership of Pan Niger Delta group not to accept any financial incentives in form of hotel accommodation, feeding and entertainment money from the Buhari led administration.
“We believe that their voices will be stronger if the piper is not being sponsored by the one he is negotiating with,” they added.